South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and Northern Indiana Workforce Board Secure $3.15 Million in CARES Act Grant Funding to Advance Rapid Recovery Workforce Retraining Effort


The grant funding is part of the $50 million “Rapid Recovery for a Better Future” initiative led by Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (July 6, 2020) — The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet (GWC) announced temporary expansion plans for the State of Indiana’s Next Level Jobs program in a press release earlier today. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development and the Commission for Higher Education will administer $37 million in Rapid Recovery for a Better Future initiative funding to expand the two programs that make up Next Level Jobs, Workforce Ready Grant (WRG) and Employer Training Grant (ETG), which will have increased eligibility program offerings and funding caps through December 30, 2020. The Northern Indiana Workforce Board (NIWB), which serves Economic Growth Region 2, has been allocated $3.15 million to advance regional workforce retraining within high-growth, high-wage occupations via the training fund programs.

“The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet is excited to partner with the Northern Indiana Workforce Board and the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP), as the organizations launch a regional workforce retraining campaign, driven to address current employer workforce demands,” said Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet Executive Director, PJ McGrew. “The State of Indiana’s Rapid Recovery for a Better Future initiative intends to equip regional economies, such as Economic Growth Region 2, with the tools and resources necessary to ensure that our employers and workers come out of this economic crisis stronger and more resilient.”

Funding Available Via Employer Training Grants & Workforce Ready Grants
Employers may apply for up to $100,000, capped at up to $5,000 per employee, via the Employer Training Grant (ETG) – which is an increase from the previous cap of $50,000 per employer. Individual learners may apply for up to $10,000 in scholarship resources available via the Workforce Training Grant (WTG)– which is also an increase from a previous cap of $5,500. Eligible training programs are highlighted on the Next Level Jobs resource page, with eligibility for funding being focused on the following sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Building & Construction, Health & Life Sciences, IT & Business Services, and Transportation & Logistics. Interested employers may complete the below form or contact SBERP Director of Education and Workforce, Leighton Johnson via email at for more information.

Rapid Recovery for a Stronger South Bend – Elkhart Workforce Employer Sign-up Form

“Rapid Recovery for a Stronger South Bend – Elkhart Workforce” Campaign
The NIWB will serve as the grant fund administrator and develop all training program plans, manage education provider partnerships, and more. SBERP is engaged to develop a regional employer engagement strategy in collaboration with local economic development and workforce leaders, optimizing the multitude of assets and expertise available across the regional education-workforce ecosystem. Serving as a signature SBERP regional initiative, the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation, or LIFT Network, will leverage emerging digital skills training programs and other resources that address automation susceptibility and job vulnerability.

Local economic development corporations (LEDOs), which include the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart CountyFulton Economic Development CorpKosciusko Economic Development CorporationMarshall County Economic Development Corporation, and the South Bend Regional Chamber will lead all county-level employer planning and outreach. The LEDOs will work in collaboration with members of the SBERP Education and Workforce Committee to map and connect employers to key high-quality training programs that match current talent development needs of employers. Economic Growth Region 2 ultimately includes the 5-county region of Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph counties.

“The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has asked workforce boards to get creative with training program eligibility via available CARES Act workforce retraining dollars between July 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020,” said Northern Indiana Workforce Board President, Greg Vollmer. “Employers will now be able to partner with non-credit training program options such as coding bootcamps – among others – to meet more immediate talent demands. The intention here is to meet employers and individual learners where they are at, while also keeping an eye towards the future.”


About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP) is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, Recruiting and retaining great TALENT, attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit

About the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet 
The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet (GWC) was formed in 2018 with the mission of addressing current and future education and employment needs for individuals and employers, strengthening Indiana’s economy by integrating and aligning state and federal resources, and ensuring a talent-driven education and workforce system. The membership of the GWC includes the business community, K-12 representatives, postsecondary institutions, Indiana lawmakers, and leaders from Indiana state agencies.

About Indiana Department of Workforce Development
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) serves the worker and the employer to ensure workplace success. DWD is committed to innovating and invigorating Indiana’s economic future by providing WorkOne Career Centers, Unemployment Insurance, Labor Market Information, Regional Workforce Strategies and Professional Training. Through these services, DWD is able to develop a premier workforce that enables Indiana employers to flourish and entices businesses from outside our state to relocate to Indiana.

Media Contact
Leighton Johnson (SBERP) – or 574.344.4686 ext.4805