Workforce training grants help Bradenton-area businesses invest in employees' futures

Grants invest in employees' futures

March 24, 2014 

Workforce is a primary concern of employers planning to expand or relocate their businesses in the Bradenton area.

Are there enough of the right candidates to fill the company's various needs? Can the local population deliver the desired quality of talent, or do candidates need more training?

At the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. we help businesses get answers to these questions and also locate the recruitment and training services they need.

We also keep tabs on available training grants, which help offset the cost of adding new employees or upgrading the skills of existing workers.

We're alerting Bradenton area businesses about two opportunities that will close at the end of June: On-the-Job Training grants provided by CareerSource Suncoast and export-related training grants funded by CareerSource Florida.

CareerSource Suncoast offers On-the-Job Training as a service to career seekers and employers to help fill open positions. Rather than school-based training, OJT allows employers to hire career seekers and use their own staff to train new employees on needed skills to do the job.

For the career seeker, the program assists in finding open positions, trains on the job to learn needed skills while earning pay as a full-time employee, and provides support from a CareerSource account executive and case manager.

Career seekers must be eligible for training services under the Workforce Investment Act.

For the employer, the program assists in finding quality candidates for openings; creates a customized training plan suited for prospective employees; and provides monthly reimbursement to offset the training and supervisory costs of new employees.

At this writing, CareerSource Suncoast has resources to support 25 to 30 more OJT positions through the end of June (the end of the state's fiscal year).

Bradenton area employers interested in learning more may contact the EDC ( Career seekers can learn more online at

For companies whose employees need knowledge or skills training to help the business expand its global markets, CareerSource Florida, the state's workforce development arm, has carved out $2 million in grants to subsidize employee training. There is still funding available,

but it must be applied to training projects before the end of June.

The customized training can relate to a wide range of knowledge or skills, from upgrading technical skills needed in manufacturing operations to learning the ins and outs of export logistics.

A February workshop to explain the program was well-attended, and the organizers are planning another session in April.

Employers interested in attending the workshop may contact the EDC (, and we'll send out scheduling details when they are available.

While these two grant programs are winding down for this fiscal year, others will begin to come available after July 1.

The requirements and benefits vary. We encourage employers to contact us to learn about the options and how their businesses may qualify.

Research indicates that businesses that invest in workforce training have happier employees and higher employee retention rates, and are more profitable.

But workforce training is more than an investment in the future of a business. It's an investment in the future of employees, of families, and of our community.

Sharon Hillstrom, president and chief executive officer of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp., may be contacted at or 748-4842, ext. 128.

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