What is the Blue Collar Jobs Training Program?
The Blue Collar Training Program provides funding to help Delaware employers (not just the State of Delaware) offer customized training programs to upgrade and retrain their employees and provide financial assistance to full-time employees. The overall administration of this fund is handled by the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO).
The State of Delaware is awarded funds (less than 1% of the available funds) for workforce development to foster career development and promotional potential in State employees in lower pay grades (typically pay grades 1 - 10).
How is training for State employees identified?
Each spring, the Office of Management and Budget surveys agency training administrators and HR managers to identify and prioritize training which would help employees in lower pay grades gain skills and advance in their careers. As training needs are identified each year, suggested training is presented to the Blue Collar Funds Review Committee for prioritization, selection and approval.
How are training funds spent on State employees?
Agencies are encouraged to share some of the costs for their program. For instance, Blue Collar may pay for computer classes, but half of any certification exam costs might be covered by the employees' agencies.
How do I find out about classes that I may be eligible for?
The statewide training website identifies classes offered for free or at reduced costs through these funds, and flyers are sent to agencies when specialized programs are being offered. Agencies whose training proposals are approved notify their employees of opportunities.
Each year, the Workforce Investment Board awards Blue Collar Funds to a variety of vendors in the Delaware. 2015 Request for Proposal Awards have been published. Contact programs of interest directly to find out if you qualify (some are only for those who are unemployed, some are for people who are “under-employed” and some have other restrictions).
To save you a few clicks, here are the 2015 Delaware Technical and Community College contacts (which seem to receive the most interest from State employees):
While these classes are not managed by OMB, if they occur during work hours or if they have a reduced fee, you may work with your supervisor to decide whether you may adjust your schedule or to see if your department can assist with the costs.
For assistance with other college classes, check with the Higher Education Office (302-735-4120), the Department of Labor's One Stop program (302-739-5473) and Vocational Rehabilitation programs (302-739-5478). Or go directly to the college of interest and ask them if they know about other funding sources. Your department's training administrator or HR manager may be able to provide additional information or assistance.