The Colorado FIRST and Existing Industry Job Training Programs were created to encourage Colorado businesses to invest in the labor force and incentivize growth and job retention.
They offer grants to companies that are relocating to or expanding operations in Colorado. Beyond cost savings, these programs provide companies the opportunity to enhance employee job skills and ability to contribute to the business. This ultimately supports competitiveness and long-term employment opportunities. To help clients, prospects and others learn more about these programs and how to qualify, Hanson & Co. has provided the key details below.
The Colorado FIRST Program targets companies relocating to or expanding in Colorado and provides a maximum annual grant award of $1,200 per full-time new hire employee. The Existing Industry Program is designed to help Colorado companies remain competitive, adapt to new technology and prevent layoffs with a maximum annual grant award of $1,000 per full-time employee.
Requirements and Eligibility Rules
There are two rounds of funding for 2017. The first round applications are due July 15th and training must be completed by November 30th with final reports due by December 9th. For the second round, applications are due December 9th and training must be completed by May 31st with final reports due by June 15th. Colorado FIRST applications may be submitted every year, and Existing Industry applications may be submitted every third year.
In order to qualify for the programs, the following must be met;
Companies must contribute a minimum of 40% to the total cost of the training
All grant-funded training must be customized for the company’s specific needs
An on-site company visit by an Office of Economic Development & International Trade and Colorado Community College System representative is required
Companies must pay an average hourly wage of greater than $12 per hour in urban areas and $9 per hour in rural areas
The grant funding is only for permanent, full-time, non-seasonal, non-retail employees who are eligible to work in the U.S.
Trainees must sign an affidavit to certify their participation in grant-funded training
A training proposal must be submitted and approved prior to the beginning of training in order to receive grant funds.
Applications are reviewed on a competitive basis. Colorado state administrators will consider factors such as how customized the job enhancing skills are, the number of trainees, community college training participation, state geographic representation, industry diversification and projected wage levels. Competitive skills include lean manufacturing, information technology (e.g., SQL, HTML, JQuery, etc.), advanced financial analysis, quality management, welding, Six Sigma and bioscience technology. New employee orientation, Microsoft Office training, basic customer service and time management skills are considered non-competitive training.
Priority will be given to certain industries, including advanced manufacturing, bioscience, aerospace, energy, natural resources and clean technology, technology and information, electronics and infrastructure engineering.
The Colorado job training programs are beneficial for current Colorado companies and those seeking to relocate to the state. If you are interested in learning more about how these programs can benefit your company’s training efforts, Hanson & Co. is here to help. For additional information on this or other state grants, call us at (303) 388-1010 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon!