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The Most Impactful Resources to Help Build Your Workforce

Jul 20, 2023

Quick Facts:

IWTGrant funds provided through the local workforce development board that can be used to offset costs of training existing employees

Registered ApprenticeshipsFormalized training plans that help recruit, train and retain employees. Can also qualify employers for grant funding and tax credits

OJT Funding from WIOA designed to offset the cost of training new employees

BOLD – Program through SC Student Loan Corporation that allows employers to recruit college students by building in structured student loan payoff

Ezone – A SC State Tax Credit program that allows employers to reduce their withholding based on training dollars spent on their current employees

The MTC Business Solutions team prides itself on staying in tune with workforce issues affecting our employer partners here in the Midlands of South Carolina. Over the last few years the signal we have been receiving has been almost completely focused on labor. A shortage of candidates, an abundance of turnover. As a result, that has been the center of a lot of our conversations with the business community. But we also track what tools are available that might help our customers solve problems like labor, as well as training the staff they already have.

One of the most common things we hear when we talk about the multitude of resources available to local employers is that they have never heard of some of the services available from our partner organizations. They often find out that they are qualified to use these services and could have been saving money for many years. We are thrilled to be able to serve as the connecting point to help them realize that savings. Let’s talk about a few of those resources.

Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) IWT is a grant funding pool that is managed by the Midlands Workforce Development Board (MWDB). These funds are awarded on a competitive basis. Typically, MWDB will announce when they are taking applications for this funding about a month ahead of the application due date. IWT is a reimbursement grant. Meaning that if an employer spends money on training their employees, the grant can reimburse the employer anywhere between 50% and 90% of the training cost, depending on company size. We have helped many of our business customers utilize this funding and we have been very successful in helping them plan out their training to fit the grant requirements and timetables. We encourage anyone interested in using this resource to let us help you on the front end. The likelihood of submitting a successful application and completing the training is much higher when we work with you to build the application.

Registered Apprenticeships If you have worked to us in the past three years you have probably heard us talk about this tool. It’s a great way to build a recruiting, training and retention tool that is tailored exactly for your organization. But did you know there are also financial incentives for employers to use apprenticeships? They can be pretty significant. As of July 1, 2023, apprentices can qualify for up to $4,000 to help pay for their job-related education. That’s $4,000 per apprentice. Also, a registered apprenticeship program qualifies the business for a tax credit of $1,000 per apprentice, per year of their apprenticeship. We have had customers offset significant portions of their state income tax liability with apprenticeship tax credits. Are you interested in partnering with MTC? Learn more about our apprenticeship opportunities.

On the Job Training (OJT) This is a great tool to help employers offset the cost of training new hires. Run by the SCWorks Midlands offices, OJT is a wage reimbursement designed to help employers offset the cost of training new hires who may not have experience in their industry. In these trying times for recruiters this program is especially relevant as it can help ease the pain and expense of bringing on talented people who are looking to change careers and jump into your industry. With candidate pools still near all time lows, many of our customers are having to recruit career changers. The reimbursement ranges from 50% to 90% of the new hire’s salary for their first several weeks on the job.

BOLD This program is brand new and very innovative. It is run through the SC Student Loan Corporation. BOLD offers employers a way to recruit new employees by building a method in which employers can help their employees pay off their student loans. The program is targeted towards employers and students in the following career fields: healthcare, teaching, finance, and information technology. If you are looking to recruit college students who are in school currently, you can engage with them earlier and you can swing a much bigger bat by having a structured recruiting pitch that assists with their student debt repayment.

EZone Another vastly underutilized tool available to South Carolina Employers. Ezone is a tax credit that qualified employers can claim to offset the cost of training their workforce on new equipment or new technology. Ezone is aimed specifically at manufacturing and information technology companies. The credit can be significant. For every $1.50 a company spends on retraining eligible employees, they are able to claim a $1 credit against their withholding. If you need to train your people, why not take advantage of every possible resource to offset that expense?

Do The Math

If you have 20 employees that you would like to put through a training program that costs $25,000, IWT may be able to reimburse you anywhere from $12,500 to $22,500

If you hire a new employee and they need to get a CDL to be able to be productive in your workforce, registering them as an apprentice may qualify them for a $4,000 tuition grant, leaving just $750 for your training budget to cover. When you factor in the $1,000 tax credit you will get for employing that apprentice for their first year, you actually see a return of $250 for helping them get their CDL. And you get a great new trained employee.

If you hire a new employee at $16 per hour, OJT through WIOA may qualify you to receive reimbursement payments of 50% to 90% of their wages for their first few weeks on the job. So that $16 an hour labor cost becomes $1.60 to $8 per hour while they are learning your work processes.

These are just a small sample of the programs that exist in our area. If you haven’t heard of one or more of them before, don’t feel bad. There are a lot of folks in our community that haven’t heard of them before either. Each program offers great benefits, but the really neat thing to think about is how some of these can be combined. A registered apprentice who is also eligible for OJT for example. That means your employee is costing you only a small fraction of their salary, while also earning you a tax-credit and getting grant funding to complete job-related- education specifically tailored to the job you need them to do. For many of our customers, that’s a no brainer.

If you think one of these or all of these may be useful to your organization, contact the MTC Business Solutions team to help you connect the dots to begin utilizing these resources or others to help you reduce your training costs and improve your organization’s recruiting and retention efforts.