Small businesses in Massachusetts continue to face significant challenges. Many are struggling to adapt to higher competition in the marketplace, especially in an age of modern, lightning-fast convenience and rapidly-evolving consumer expectations.
Implementing new cost-savings strategies can seem like an overwhelming task for small companies. One of the biggest challenges they face involves correctly carrying out organizational improvement initiatives and the training programs required to ensure employees are up to the challenge.
Thankfully, Massachusetts employers have access to many different resources that can help them invest in employees and increase revenue and profit.
What are State Grant Funds?
A grant is funding provided by the state or federal government that financially supports ideas and projects that help stimulate the economy. There are many different types of grants, but state grant funds refer to financial resources given by the state where a business or organization resides.
State grant funds in Massachusetts can be used to further develop the skills of your management team, improve your sales and marketing programs, increase executive effectiveness, and more. Let’s take a closer look at some state grant funds that are available in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund
The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund (WFTP) is a state-funded grant program that mainly focuses on assisting small to medium-sized businesses. The program aims to increase competitiveness and productivity through effective employee training initiatives.
Unemployment contributions made by employers fund the WFTP. That means you’ve likely been contributing to this fund for years. Surprisingly, we’ve found that only one in 20 employers are aware that they have access to these funds to fuel organizational improvement. The Workforce Training Fund provides two primary training programs, the Express Grant Program and the General Grant Program.
Express Grant Program
The Express Grant Training Program is a quick and simple way to access training funds. Funding applications can be completed in just under an hour, and approvals are often provided within four weeks after submission.
Under the Express Grant, you can receive up to $30,000 in funding per year. The program operates on a contribution match, which means the state will provide a dollar-to-dollar match for any training initiatives that are applied for. For instance, you can conduct $60,000 of training during a calendar year and be reimbursed $30,000 through the fund.
How to Select Your Training
The Express Grant was developed to provide quick access to specific trainers. For this reason, you must apply using a list of already-approved trainers. Cunningham & Associates currently offers more than 50 pre-approved courses through the program, focusing on the following topics:
- Executive coaching
- Strategic planning
- Supervisory management training
- Sales and marketing
- Quality management systems (ISO 9001, 9100, 13485, etc.)
- Production systems and control
- ERP systems training
- Human resources
- Organization culture
General Grant Program
The General Grant Program differs from the Express Grant Program. This grant can be used to support larger, long-term training initiatives that typically reach across multiple business units or include multiple topics from the above list.
Through this state-funded program, businesses can apply for grants up to $250,000. Additionally, this program can help businesses reduce net out-of-pocket costs for training programs. While the Express Grant Program is a simple 50% match, the General Grant Program considers the wages paid to employees during training as a portion of your contribution. This has allowed many of our clients to fund 70-80% of their training costs through the General Grant Program.
While there are advantages to the General Grant Program, the application process can be complex and time-consuming. Courses are not pre-approved. Instead, they’re sourced by the trainee and written into a comprehensive grant proposal. Key metrics used by the organization to track improvement will be included in this proposal.
For example, your business might see increased customer diversification as the key outcome of a sales and marketing training program.
Approvals for the General Grant Program are usually provided within 60 days of your application.
State Grant Funds: Why You Should Partner With Cunningham & Associates
We’ve seen tremendous value in working with clients to identify employee training program needs. We can customize training programs by leveraging key performance indicators across your organization.
We often find that employers understand the critical need for increasing the skill sets of employees across different teams. Unfortunately, they often lack a clear understanding of the specific training programs that will accomplish these goals.
Cunningham & Associates will work with you to identify areas that need organizational improvement. Pairing those opportunities with targeted and customized training programs will help your business achieve success, and we’ll even implement systems that track the effectiveness of those programs.
Ready to get started? Call us at (508) 797-5003 or connect with our team for a free consultation.