- Workforce Wayne, in partnership with East Stroudsburg University, hosted an informational session about WEDnetPA Guaranteed Free Training in the Wayne/Pike Technology Training Lab at the Hawley Silk Mill, Monday.
East Stroudsburg University is one of 31 partners through the WEDnetPA program.
WEDnetPA stands for Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania. The program is specific for Pennsylvania.
It offers qualified employers the opportunity to "train new and existing employees through the Guaranteed Free Training (GFT) Program offered through WEDnetPA."
"You can affiliate with any partner you want," said Sharone Glasco, Interim Director of Workforce Development and Research & Economic Development at East Stroudsburg University, who was the speaker for the information session. "It doesn't matter where you are logistically located. You can partner with any of them."
The website, www.wednetpa.com, says that "included in this partnership are 11 of Pennsylvania's State System universities, Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges and other educational providers."
The partners are the "point of contact for businesses accessing Guaranteed Free Training (GFT) funds."
Glasco explained what the WEDnetPA program is about, eligibility, types of training available, the application process, criteria for acceptance, and more.
"It's a reimbursement training grant," Glasco said. "It can help your company be more efficient, diverse, competitive, and even edgier. Training is offered for basic skills and information technology, and can be done on site or online."
She added that WEDnetPA pays $450 per employee, up to $50,000 per year, for basic skills training. That is per company.
Basic skills training includes applied mathematics and measurement; business operations; communications and teamwork; computers; manufacturing fundamentals including blueprint reading, welding, soldering, tooling, grinding, setup and machine maintenance; problem solving; product and process control; quality assurance; workplace behavior skills; and workplace health and safety.
Glasco also said that WEDnetPA pays $850 per employee, up to $75,000 per year, for information technology training. That is also per company.
Information technology training includes advanced applied manufacturing technology; computer programming; data base development; e-business/commerce; information security, management information systems; network administration; software engineering; systems analysis; technology support; and website design and development.
The WEDnetPA website also provides companies with eligibility requirements for the GFT program. They are as follows:
Employers must be based in Pennsylvania or have a significant presence in the state.
Point-of-sale retail businesses, gaming establishments, training vendors, employment agencies, government agencies, government-owned facilities, education and nonprofit entities are ineligible.
Note: some unions, labor organizations and non-profit healthcare entities may qualify as exceptions. Contact a WEDnetPA partner for more information.
Employers with a high historical turnover rate (greater than 50 percent) may be declared ineligible.
Page 2 of 2 - Prior grant recipients with a high employee turnover (greater than 40 percent) may be declared ineligible.
Participation is limited to two years in a row and three out of the past five years.
Training must commence within five months of the grant approval letter or by the end of the fiscal year, whichever comes first. If not, the funds will be forfeited.
Employees must be residents of Pennsylvania and employed in Pennsylvania.
Employees must earn at least 150 percent of current federal minimum wage, excluding benefits.
The jobs must be permanent full-time positions eligible for full-time benefits.
Each employer will sign a Statement of Eligibility Memorandum of Agreement confirming that he or she will meet all of the above requirements, subject to verification.
"We are here to get you through the system," stated Glasco. "The program executes itself and is a great program. I think everyone should apply. We want to branch out. Not a lot of people know about the program."
For more information about WEDnetPA visit www.wednetpa.com. For more information about the Research & Economic Development department at East Stroudsburg University, visit www4.esu.edu/red/about.cfm.