Primary-industry employer grants deadline approaching

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The Colorado FIRST and Existing Industry business-grant deadlines are fast approaching.

The first deadline for Colorado FIRST is Aug. 2, and the Existing Industry first deadline is Aug. 13. There are also deadlines in October for the second round of grant applications.

The grants enable primary-industry employers to increase short-term, fast-track employee training.

Administered jointly by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade and the Colorado Community College System, the programs encourage the expansion of existing Colorado companies, enhance Colorado workers’ job security and attract businesses to Colorado.

The Colorado Community College System is the administrator for the $2.7 million Colorado Training Grant Program.

Since the inception of Colorado’s customized job training programs, more than 590 companies of all sizes have benefited from the programs and over 47,000 Coloradans have been trained.

For a PDF of grant deadlines, click on this link.

For a PDF of the complete training grant program guidelines, click on this link.

For more information, contact the local program administrators at Pikes Peak Community College Economic and Workforce Development Division: Jerry Fritz jerry.fritz@ppcc.edu or 719-502-3452, or Melissa Westmoland at melissa.westmoland@ppcc.edu or 719-502-3451.

Details about the grants:

Colorado FIRST

• Incentive Program – This Program is designed for companies who are relocating to Colorado or are undertaking a major expansion. Local
Economic Development organizations work with the OED to identify eligible companies. Grants are usually funded based on the number and
quality of jobs created. Grants are administered by the community colleges.
• Competitive Grants – Companies adding a significant number of new full-time jobs to their workforce may apply for Colorado FIRST funds by
creating a training plan and application with their local community college. There are several grant periods throughout the year.

Existing Industry

• Existing Industry grants are designed for Colorado companies who are implementing new technology to remain competitive and keep jobs in
Colorado. The application process is the same as for competitive Colorado FIRST grants.
• Existing Industry addresses the challenges of technological advancement. When technology changes threaten a company’s competitive edge,
Existing Industry retraining can immediately boost productivity and allow the company to meet the challenge of a changing market. Capital
investment in new equipment is enhanced by the new skills employees will receive.

General Guidelines

1. Training funds must target full-time, primary (dollar-importing) jobs that have significant career opportunities and require substantial instruction.
Part-time, seasonal, retail and tourism jobs are not eligible.

2. Preference will be given training projects that are located in lagging economic regions that demonstrate a strong company commitment and
teach technical, transferable skills.

3. Training is provided only for jobs that pay above minimum wage and for which health benefits are provided. Priority is given to companies that
pay a minimum of $8.20 per hour in rural areas of the state (defined as non-entitlement areas by the Department of Housing and Urban
Development), and $10.46 per hour in large urban areas along the Front Range.

4. Community colleges or area vocational school facilities and resources must be used whenever they meet the company’s training requirements
and standards. Training must be customized to fit the company’s training needs.

5. Participating companies are expected to contribute money and resources to help train their own employees. The company’s financial investment demonstrates the company’s commitment to its own workforce and eliminates frivolous grant applications. Colorado FIRST will not fund 100 percent of project training costs; participating companies must contribute at least 40 percent of direct training costs. Grant funds may not be used to pay wages or stipends to trainees.