Workforce training grants having a positive impact on local companies

December 18, 2015

According to a study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) two key state-administered workforce training grants are producing excellent results for the Florida businesses taking advantage of them.
The study, which examined the grants distributed during fiscal years 2011-2014, gauged the effectiveness of the Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) and FloridaFlex (previously known as Quick Response Training) programs on participating companies. FloridaFlex provides new or expanding businesses in target industries state grant funding for customized skills-based training. Federally funded, IWT provides grants for continuing education and training of those already employed at existing Florida businesses.
Nearly all of the Florida businesses that received grants during the 2011-2014 period reported a positive impact on their companies as a result.
For those who received the FloridaFlex grant, 88 percent of respondents reported a positive business impact, 33 percent reported increased sales as a result of the grant, and 63 percent said the grant factored into their decision to establish or expand in Florida.
IWT respondents gave similar feedback, with 93 percent reporting positive business impact and 56 percent citing increased sales due to the grant.
Employment also increased for IWT and FloridaFlex recipients in Florida, ranging from 15 percent for IWT recipients to a 23 percent increase for FloridaFlex recipients. Wages increased more gradually, however, with 8 percent and 3 percent increases for IWT and FloridaFlex recipients respectively.
“As the OPPAGA report noted, the FloridaFlex (formerly known as Quick Response Training) and Incumbent Worker Training grant programs provide exceptional value to businesses as well as citizens of the State of Florida,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Chris Hart IV. “A skilled and productive workforce is critical to Florida’s growing economy, serving as a primary reason businesses expand or locate in our great state. Training that enhances skills of new or existing employees boosts business competitiveness and overall workforce quality.”
Businesses in Hillsborough County were among the largest recipients of the state-funded programs. Local companies received 10 FloridaFlex grants totaling $1.3 million to train 1,592 employees, while 102 companies were granted IWT incentives totaling $1.8 million to train 4,590 employees.
These companies worked with Business Development Managers from the Tampa Hillsborough EDC to get connected with CareerSource Florida and to navigate the online application process.
“As a leading provider of Special Operations Forces (SOF) joint training solutions, it’s critical we attract and retain extraordinarily competent, committed professionals. Our customer requirements change rapidly and require a highly professional team to rapidly and persistently address regional contingencies and threats to our nation’s stability,” said Jennifer Metz, Director, Business Development & Proposals, Visual Awareness Technologies & Consulting, Inc. (VATC). “The IWT Program has provided VATC with funds to continually upgrade employee skills through specialized, professional development initiatives – allowing us, in turn, to provide USSOCOM, DoD agencies, and interagency partners with a team of highly trained, results driven, subject matter experts.”
Local companies interested in learning more and applying for these economic incentives should contact the EDC’s Vice President of Business Development, Steve Morey, at (813) 518-2630 or at For more information about CareerSource Florida’s training grant solutions, please visit or call 850-922-8647.

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