Workforce Business Development Award Nomination Indiana

Indiana Workforce Business Development Award Nomination: Next Level Jobs

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: Josh Richardson

Email Address:

Agency Name: Indiana Department of Workforce Development


Next Level Jobs

Indiana employers will need to fill 1 million jobs in the next 10 years, over half of which will require some type of certification or credential beyond a high school diploma. Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Jobs initiative was created in 2017 as part of his Next Level Agenda to build a stronger skilled workforce throughout the State of Indiana. Next Level Jobs has two grant programs – the Employer Training Grant and the Workforce Ready Grant.

The Employer Training Grant reimburses Indiana employers in high-demand industries up to $5,000 for each new or incumbent employee who is hired, trained and retained for six months. There is a $50,000 cap for each employer, and the jobs must be middle skill, high-demand and high-wage.

The Workforce Ready Grant provides free training for Indiana residents with a high school diploma (or equivalent) but less than a college degree. The occupational training can either be credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing and leverages Hoosiers into a high-wage, high-demand career.

Next Level Jobs builds upon past strategies such as the Skill Up Initiative and Innovation Network wherein the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) identified industry sectors and brought together businesses to further develop what these skills should be. The Next Level Jobs initiative is the next step in that process of evolution of now providing Hoosiers and businesses with the tools and funding they need to skill-up Indiana’s workforce.

Provide a statement of results, accomplishments, impacts, and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts described in question #1 were an exceptional contribution. Response (400 word limited).

Gov. Holcomb allocated more than $20 million for both grant programs to be used over a period of two years. However, because the success of both programs was much greater than expected and funds were anticipated to run out midway into Program Year 2018-19, the Governor continued to lobby for greater support and, in the following years, received $40 million for the Employer Training Grant and $4 million for the Workforce Ready Grant.

Initially, the Employer Training Grant offered $2,500 for each new employee hired, trained and retained for six months with a cap of $25,000 per employer. The bump to $5,000 and $50,000, respectively, speaks to the volume of interest from businesses and the need to offer training for higher-skill occupations. Additionally, the Employer Training Grant first restricted businesses to train new employees but later expanded into advancing the skills of Hoosiers already employed.

Since its inception, $23.9 million of the Employer Training Grant has gone to nearly 1,800 businesses that have collectively trained more than 8,600 employees. Those trained employees have realized an average annual salary increase of $4,160.

At the start of the Next Level Jobs program, the Workforce Ready Grant was handled by a different agency. However, in 2018, due to increased interest and success on the non-credit-bearing side, DWD took over that part of the Workforce Ready Grant, receiving additional allocation, to increase participation and better streamline the process.

On the Workforce Ready Grant’s non-credit-bearing side since DWD took over, of the 1,677 program starters to-date, 798 (72.9%) completed training and 535 (67.5%) earned a credential.

Provide a brief description of the nominee's significant contributions in any one of the other two areas listed under "criteria" that you did not focus on above. Response (400 word limited).

The Next Level Jobs initiative also meets the innovative framework criteria. Several partnerships and services provided by state programs and agencies help to make the Next Level Jobs initiative a success for Hoosiers and Hoosier businesses. Next Level Jobs and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) were braided for a broader band of support to Hoosiers and employers. For the Employer Training Grant, incumbent worker training was developed by the Workforce Development Boards and WorkOne Career Centers. The Workforce Ready Grant utilizes the INTraining Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL), meaning that all training providers are held to the standards of the ETPL which is WIOA-funded and federally-regulated.

Indiana Career Ready is a tool for users to determine occupational demand, find job training resources such as Next Level Jobs, access Labor Market Information and more. These resources all partner with each other instead of operating in silos so that there is a streamlined and comprehensive process of skilling up or getting a better-paying career.

Next Level Jobs is one cog in an integrative machine to solve Indiana’s workforce issue of needing the right skills and certifications to meet businesses’ needs, which then creates a more fruitful environment not only to attract new businesses to relocate to Indiana but also for current businesses to attract and retain talent.


Examples of work 

IN - NextLevel Jobs Infographic-Monthly-12062019.pdf (895.8KB)
IN - Next Level Jobs OnePager.7cff7b8d 2020.pdf (102.1KB)
IN - Next Level Jobs Multimedia Resources 2020.pdf (11.5KB)
IN - Agency Approval Letter 01 06 2020.pdf (243.2KB)