As we turn the corner into 2021, Massachusetts small businesses are facing significant challenges. Many are hard at work adapting to higher competition in the market place and implementing new cost-savings techniques internally. One of the biggest challenges in addressing these strategic initiatives will be funding the organizational improvement and training programs required to ensure employees are up for the challenge. 

Luckily for Massachusetts employers, several resources can help you invest in your people and fuel increased profitability in 2021. The state grant funds listed below can be used to expand your management teams’ skills, grow your sales and marketing programs, increase your executive effectiveness, and more. 

Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund

The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund (WFTP) is a state-funded grant program primarily focused on assisting small to medium-sized businesses. The goal of the program is to increase competitiveness and productivity through employee training initiatives. 

Employer unemployment contributions fund the WFTP. So, you’ve likely been paying into this fund for years. Surprisingly, only one in 20 employers we’ve spoken to know they can access these funds to fuel organizational improvement. The Workforce Training Fund provides two primary training programs.

Express Grant Program

The Express Grant Training Program is a quick and easy way to access training funds. Funding applications can be completed under one hour, and approvals are often provided within four weeks of submission.  

Under the Express Grant, you can receive up to $30,000 in funding per year. The program operates on a contribution match, meaning the state will provide a dollar-to-dollar match for any training initiatives you apply for. For instance, you can conduct $60,000 of training in a calendar year and be reimbursed $30,000 through the fund.

Selecting Your Training

The Express Grant is positioned to provide quick access to the required trainers. For this reason, you must apply for training through a list of approved trainers. 

Cunningham & Associates currently offers over 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 in a few ways from the Express Grant Program. First, this grant can be used to support larger, longer-term training initiatives that often span across multiple business units. Or include multiple topics from the list included above. 

Businesses can apply for grants up to $250,000. Additionally, this program can be advantageous in reducing net out-of-pocket costs for training programs. Whereas the express grant program is a simple 50% match, the General Grant Program considers the wages you pay employees during training as a portion of your contribution. With this in mind, our client’s fund 70-80% of training costs on average through the General Grant Program. 

While there are advantages to the General Grant Program, the application process can often be daunting and time-consuming. Courses are not pre-approved but instead sourced by the trainee and written into a comprehensive grant proposal. Included in this proposal are key metrics the organization will aim to improve as an outcome of the training. 

For example, your business might see increased customer diversification as the key outcome of a sales and marketing training program. Approvals are usually provided within 60 days of your application. 

Cunningham & Associates is Well-Versed in the State Grant Writing Process 

We’ve seen tremendous value in working with clients to determine various employee training program needs. We can customize training programs to meet those needs and choose a targeted return on investment by leveraging key performance indicators across your organization.

We often find that employers understand the critical need for increasing their team’s skillsets. But they lack a clear understanding of what specific training will accomplish the goals of their organization. 

That’s where C&A comes in. We’ll work with you and your key resources to analyze areas for organizational improvement. Pairing those opportunities with targeted and customized training programs will achieve organizational success, and we’ll implement systems for tracking the effectiveness of those programs.  

Ready to get started? Call us at (508) 797-5003. Or contact us online through our short website form, and we’ll get back to you asap.

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