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Workforce investment board boosts trainee supports

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Mon, Feb 1st 2016 11:15 am

Policy changes increase training funding, supportive services for eligible job seekers

The Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board has announced a policy change to increase available training funds and supportive services for eligible individuals in Erie County seeking WIB assistance in upgrading job skills and finding employment. Training and supportive services are only provided to an individual following a complete assessment of education, training and work experience, along with financial situation and help, to prepare job-seeking clients for positions in "demand" occupations.

The updated WIB policy creates individual training accounts of up to $3,000, raised from $2,400, to cover the cost of training and training-related expenses directly linked to eligible job-seekers in occupations such as welders, machinists, registered nurses and hotel front office operations. Additional funding of up to $3,000 may be available on a case-by-case basis to further upgrade trainees' skills or expand them to include broader employment possibilities.

"This policy change will help to address increased costs related to job seekers' participation in more technical training, and will help lessen the burden on the trainees themselves. ITA funding, which can also be applied to books and other training expenses, reimburses the training school directly, and is tied to the amount of training being provided," WIB Executive Director Heather Okoro said. "In some cases, this funding may cover the entire cost of training while, in others, the trainee may be required to contribute, as well. All participants' circumstances are different, but, together with our partners, we are helping to connect trainees with jobs that are in demand and that lead to economic self-sufficiency for these individuals."

Supportive services are also offered on a case-by-case basis for eligible trainees and address program participants' other barriers to employment, such as transportation, child care and meals. The change in policy added a daily meal allowance of $10 for eligible individuals and also raised the child care allowance for eligible individuals to $12,000 from $10,000. A daily transportation allowance of $5 is also available for eligible individuals. An ITA will cover costs associated with training that leads to a certificate, license or completion of a two-year degree leading to employment in a demand occupation. Schools partnering with the WIB to provide job training are participants in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and training supported by an ITA must lead to employment of 30 or more hours per week.

For more information on the Workforce Investment Board, visit http://www.becwib.org/.

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