ARCHIVED  October 1, 1995

State supports specialty training

If you own a small to medium-sized company and don’t think you can afford the customized training you need, you’re not out of luck.

Grants ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 are available through the Colorado First Customized Training program administered by the state.

The grants are open to companies that are expanding to help train new workers, said Bonnie Allison, program administrator. To be eligible for the grant, companies must pay the new employees at least $8 per hour in metro areas and at least $7 per hour in rural sections of the state. Training is provided only for full-time, primary jobs being created by companies relocating here or expanding significantly in the state.

The program, which debuted in 1984, is geared toward manufacturers and service providers; companies involved in the tourism business or retail operations are not eligible for the grants.

Grants are written by a local community college or vocational/technical school chosen by the company. The community college helps design a training package that fits the predetermined needs and goals of the company. Training can be performed at the school, business or a combination of both.

Funding from the Colorado First program goes toward curriculum development, instructor wages and miscellaneous supplies. Companies that receive funding are asked to match the grant in some amount, although there is no specified minimum a firm is required to pay.

When a grant is received, the money is delivered to the school, which receives an 8 percent fee for its administrative services. If the training is done entirely at the school, the company receiving the training never sees a dime of the funds. But if the firm coordinates to have all or a portion of the training done elsewhere, the company invoices the school for the appropriate contract amount.

The administering college is required to log a roster of employees being trained, keep tabs on the number of hours of training received and conduct on-site monitoring sessions. In addition, the company must provide financial statements to the state to be eligible for First Grant funding, Allison said.

The state Legislature appropriates the money in the state’s annual budget; for fiscal 1995, the Colorado First program received $3.1 million. There is no maximum amount a company can receive, but the average is roughly $50,000 per grant or $400 per trainee. About 50 grants are awarded by the state every year, though its popularity has created a backlog of more than a dozen firms seeking training assistance.

About 75 percent of the grants go to companies with 100 employees or less, Allison said. The program has funded firms with as few as six employees and as many as 1,500.

A portion of the grant money is set aside for companies falling into the Existing Industries category, which allows companies to retrain existing employees to take advantage of new technology or internal changes.

Both Aims Community College and Front Range Community College participate in the Colorado First program. Colorado First training projects coordinated by Front Range have ranged from $3,000 to $300,000, said Nancy Mercurio, interim director of continuing education and contracted services.

For more information about Colorado First Customized Training grants, call Front Range Community College at 9970) 491-5288, Aims Community College at (970) 330-8008 or the Colorado First administrative office at (800) 659-2656.

If you own a small to medium-sized company and don’t think you can afford the customized training you need, you’re not out of luck.

Grants ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 are available through the Colorado First Customized Training program administered by the state.

The grants are open to companies that are expanding to help train new workers, said Bonnie Allison, program administrator. To be eligible for the grant, companies must pay the new employees at least $8 per hour in metro areas and at least $7 per hour in rural sections of the state. Training is provided only for full-time, primary jobs…

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