At Your Service: Customized Workforce Training

Finding the right employees early on can be a game-changer when relocating or expanding business operations.

By BF Editors
From the May / June 2024 Issue

Building the skills and competencies of American workers is essential to ensuring the competitiveness of business in the global economy. The public workforce system recognizes that workforce training for individuals must align with the needs of business and industry. There are several ways that the public workforce system supports this need for training: pre-employment training, on-the-job training, incumbent worker training, and registered apprenticeships.

Most of the pre-employment training offered by the public workforce system is available for unemployed and underemployed individuals. It is designed to help people develop the skills they need to enter the workforce in a high-growth, high-demand occupation as quickly as possible.

Individuals who meet certain conditions can qualify for Individual Training Accounts to pay for short-term training they need to advance in the labor market. Longer-term training is sometimes available for workers who have been laid off due to the impact of foreign trade.

Employers have an opportunity to learn about the kinds of training that individuals are receiving in their local area, and they can also ask for the resumes of those who are completing training in fields relevant to workforce needs.

Customized Workforce Training
(Photo: Adobe Stock/Andrii Yalanski)


Certain jobs will require training at the workforce that is beyond what individuals receive through pre-employment training. Under certain circumstances, employers may receive reimbursement for up to 50% of the costs to provide additional on-the-job training for individuals who were hired through the public workforce system. The specific area’s American Job Centers or Workforce Development Board can advise on programs that may be available.

Although the majority of training opportunities through the public workforce system are for individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, many states and local areas support incumbent worker training as a critical facet of regional economic development. In fact, lifelong learning is increasingly the norm—and continuous skill development is often required to keep a step ahead of the global competition.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration has granted states the ability to make flexible decisions about training dollars for incumbent workers.

Meanwhile, registered apprenticeship is a structured way for companies to support career development in employees. With a registered apprenticeship program at their company, workers know in advance the blend of classroom instruction and on-the-job training they need to complete in order to enter designated jobs or gain promotions. Many companies have documented that registered apprenticeship has helped them to increase recruitment, and retention, while reducing overall training costs.

The federal Office of Apprenticeship, and apprenticeship offices across the country, are available to help companies evaluate if registered apprenticeship is right for them. Field staff can also provide technical assistance in setting up an apprenticeship.

Missouri: New Incentives Are Targeting Talent

Missouri One Start meets workforce needs in the state with new incentives aimed at relocation reimbursement, interns, and apprentices.

Its relocation assistance allows eligible businesses to apply training funds to the relocation cost of moving new full-time employees to the state. Reimbursement is based on 50% of the employer’s cost to relocate the employee into Missouri. The reimbursement also cannot exceed 50% of the company’s customized training grant.

The city of Hazelwood, just outside of St. Louis, has doubled down on the Missouri One Start relocation incentive by offering its own version. The city will match the amount the state reimbursed to Hazelwood companies for relocation costs. To sweeten the deal, if the employee who relocated buys a house in Hazelwood, they too can potentially receive an additional $3,500.

“This is an excellent example of how state and local resources can be leveraged to both assist our companies and grow our state’s economy. We’ve had a lot of interest in relocation reimbursement and we look forward to seeing its impact in the coming years.”

— Kristie Davis, Director, Missouri One Start

“This is an excellent example of how state and local resources can be leveraged to both assist our companies and grow our state’s economy”, said Kristie Davis, Director of Missouri One Start. “We’ve had a lot of interest in relocation reimbursement and we look forward to seeing its impact in the coming years.”

The Intern and Apprenticeship Recruitment Act (IARA) provides a tax credit to eligible businesses that increase the number of interns or apprentices they hire. Businesses must hire their interns or apprentices at wages equal to or exceeding the minimum wage. A maximum of $1,500 per eligible intern or apprentice is available, with a program cap of $1 million in tax credits per year.

Missouri ranks third in the United States for completed apprenticeships, new apprentices, and active apprentices. By providing this additional tax benefit to companies, the state expects the apprenticeship program to become even more robust. Missouri currently has more than 20,000 active apprentices, making it one of the largest programs in the nation.

Missouri companies and students can clearly benefit from IARA. Companies hire interns to provide valuable support and to train potential job candidates. At the same time, internships are often a requirement for graduation from a university. This work-based opportunity provides an additional resource for companies to grow their talent pipeline and invest in enhancing the skillset of Missouri’s workforce.

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