Application Opens for Workforce Training Funds

(Shared by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

For more information about the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, visit

Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program
Guidelines FY’18

The Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program (“Voucher Program”) is an employer-driven program designed to provide direct financial assistance to train workers and improve the economic competitiveness of Ohio’s employers. The Voucher Program is designed to offset a portion, via reimbursement, of the employer’s costs to improve the skills of its incumbent workforce. The Voucher Program will provide reimbursement to eligible employers for specific training costs accrued during the course of training. Eligible employers must demonstrate that by receiving funding assistance through the Voucher Program their business will not only obtain a skilled workforce, but will also improve company processes and competitiveness.

Program Eligibility:

To be eligible for financial assistance, the following requirements must be met by both the employer and employee:

EMPLOYER ELIGIBILITY – an eligible employer must operate as a for-profit entity in a state-designated targeted industry, with a facility located in Ohio that has been in continuous operation for the 12 months immediately prior to application submittal. The company’s NAICS code ( will determine eligibility as to the targeted industry. A listing of eligible NAICS codes can be found on our website.

Targeted industries are:

• Advanced Manufacturing
• Aerospace and Aviation
• Automotive (Automotive Technicians)
• Automotive (Manufacturing)
• BioHealth
• Corporate Headquarters
• Energy
• Financial Services
• Food Processing
• Information Technology and Services
• Logistics
• Polymers and Chemicals
• Research and Development

Each Applicant will be eligible for up to $4,000 in reimbursement for each eligible incumbent employee per Fiscal Year and up to $25,000 in total assistance per Fiscal Year. The Voucher Agreement and any Supplements to the Voucher Agreement issued to an employer during the Fiscal Year, aggregated throughout all of its state of Ohio locations, will be included in this calculation. Please note that only one application per Applicant will be accepted per program year. If an employer has multiple sites or Affiliated Entities, those sites and Affiliated Entities must work together to submit one application. An application may include multiple employees and multiple training courses.

Companies that received Voucher Program assistance in FY’16 (based upon FEIN) who utilized 33% or less of their award amount will not be eligible for assistance in FY’18. The same standard will be applied to future Voucher Program funding years (i.e. if funds are not utilized in FY17, that company will not be eligible for Voucher Program assistance in FY19, and so on and so forth).

An Applicant, including its Affiliated Entities may only submit one application. The Applicant and Affiliated Entities will be responsible for selecting the entity that will apply and manage the project. The application should not include training for any entity that is not eligible for FY’18 funding.

Eligible training for Corporate Headquarter will be for the corporate headquarters staff only (employees that support the operation by providing information technology, human resources, or accounting services).

EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY – an eligible incumbent employee is someone who is directly employed by the Applicant at a facility located within Ohio and meets all of the following requirements:

• Employed in any of the following business functions: production, back office operations, information technology, logistics, research and development or as an automotive technician;
• Earning an hourly wage of at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage ($10.88 as of January 1, 2012) plus benefits;
• An Ohio resident;
• At least 18 years of age;
• Working at least 25 hours per week; and
• Directly employed by the Applicant for six months or longer.

Note: an employee who is employed in a retail/service function is not eligible for the Voucher Program.

Eligible Training

Training opportunities that expand and improve an employee’s workforce skills and develop his or her opportunities for growth or promotion within the company are eligible for the Voucher Program. The training provider is to be selected independently by the employer and/or employee (with employer approval) and may be a public, private or in-house trainer.

While the effective date of the agreement will be January 1, 2018, any costs incurred or monies expended by the Applicant on the Project prior to final approval and execution of the written Agreement is done at the Applicant’s own risk. Applicant’s decision to go forward does not obligate the State of Ohio to provide state assistance that has not received all required approvals, or has not been memorialized in a written agreement between the applicant and the State of Ohio.

Training must be completed by December 31, 2018.

Trainings may be conducted at the employer’s facility, at the training provider’s facility, online or at a third-party site. Eligible training will be technical in nature, will relate to the employee’s current position or future advancement within the company, and must be required by the company. Training activities may include:

• Training for improved process efficiency (e.g. ISO-9000, Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing);
• Training from a national, regional or state trade association that offers an independently certified training curriculum and testing;
• Training that leads to an industry recognized certificate/credential;
• Training provided in conjunction with the purchase of a new piece of equipment; and
• Training to maintain an industry recognized credential.

Ineligible training activities include (but are not limited to):

• Conference fees;
• Curriculum Development and/or Prep Time;
• General Equivalency Diploma (GED);
• HR Certification;
• ICD-10;
• Laws, Regulations, and Taxes – Training related to compliance regulations, federal/state taxation laws, international laws, US labor laws, etc;
• On-Line Resource Libraries or any other resource in which an individual can choose from a number of courses over a period of time;
• Membership Fees;
• Microsoft Office courses (this includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Access, and Publisher);
• Safety Training – Mandated or regulatory safety training is not eligible. Mandated or regulatory safety training includes but is not limited to blood borne pathogens, control of hazardous materials, lockout/tagout, emergency action plan, emergency response, hazard communications, hearing conservation, safe electrical workplace, all OSHA, and stand-alone safety (including first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), emergency medical technician (EMT), etc);
• Seminars/Workshops/Webinars;
• Tuition Reimbursement;
• Soft Skills (please note that this list is not all inclusive):

Adapting to Change
Anger Management
Bankruptcy Laws
Basic Math
Business Policies and Procedures
Business Writing
Communication Skills
Conducting Effective Meetings
Constructive Feedback and Criticism
Conflict Resolution
Creative & Innovative Ideas
Creative Thinking
Customer Service
Decision Making
Drug and Alcohol Education
Drug Testing
Effective Listening
E-mail Skills
Employee Relations
Emotional Intelligence
English as a Second Language
Foreign Culture and Customs
Fraud Detection/Prevention
GED Prep Courses
Generational Divide
Habits of Success People
HR Training (i.e., diversity, ethics, sexual harassment, etc.)
Informational Meetings
Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal Skills Development
Interviewing Techniques
Leadership Courses
Legal Contracts
Legal Purchasing
Listening Skills
Monthly Meetings
Myers Briggs
Navigating Difficult Conversations
Negotiation Skills
Notary Public
Optimizing Your Work/Life Balance
Orientation/On Boarding
Organizational Behavior
Personal Management/Health
Presentation Skills
Public Speaking
Strategic Planning
Teamwork/Team Building
Telephone Skills
Time Management
Train the Trainer (How to become a more effective trainer)
Workplace Politics
• Required/Regulatory Training – Training that is required by any other public agency or department is not eligible. These trainings may include but are not limited to EPA, Hazardous Waste, FDA, Workers Comp, OSHA, etc.;
• Training that is already being reimbursed by another State or Federal training program (e.g. Ohio Workforce Guarantee, National Emergency Grant, etc.);
• Training that leads to professional license (i.e., doctors, lawyers, accountants,etc.);
• Training to maintain a professional license;
• Travel costs;
• CDL training and testing; and
• Wages of trainees while being trained.

Eligible Training Costs

The Applicant may request reimbursement for up to 33 percent of the Applicant’s cost to train an incumbent employee (up to $4,000), which may be used for any of the following purposes:

• Instructor costs;
• Instructional materials.
o Please note that these costs must be prorated per employee and will be capped at 25 percent of the cost of training per employee per training. Additionally, instructional materials must be requested and approved in the application to be eligible.

Available Funding

This Voucher Program is operated as a reimbursement program. The Ohio Development Services Agency will reimburse the Applicant for up to 33 percent of the cost of the training (up to $4,000), after 1) the Applicant pays the full cost of the training, and 2) the incumbent employee successfully completes the training. Payment of the cost of the training by an Applicant must come from private sources and cannot include any previously acquired public funds.

The invoice for reimbursement may only be submitted after an employee has successfully completed the approved training. The Applicant shall submit invoices no more than once during each quarter of the grant period, unless it is the final invoice.

Funding approvals for the Voucher Program will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Ohio Development Services Agency reserves the right to hold any pending applications due to the Applicant or its Affiliated Entities being delinquent or non-compliant under any other agreement with the Ohio Development Services Agency, or the Applicant or its Affiliated Entities having any outstanding tax or EPA liabilities with the State of Ohio.

Additional Information

Additional program information, including post-approval documents and processes, can be found at the following website:

Capitalized terms not otherwise defined in these Voucher Program Guidelines shall have the meaning given to them in the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program Definitions FY’18.