Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Where "Free Money" Comes From, And Where It Goes.

"If there's no free money, where does all this grant money go to? Like to retrain for jobs?"

I hear it every day. A little article came out in the Toledo Blade that illustrates the facts of free money life. It noted that Lucas County will receive over $5 million for job training. Surely, this is free money for the taking. But no. The money can be used by clients of The Source, the county's employment agency, for retraining and education.

O.K., so you just ask there, and they give you the money? Well, no. I had a chance to speak to Jim Flynn of The Source. He told me that the money was part of their mission to retrain workers, as part of the total package of job counseling, testing, and other methods of determining the best employment course for the trainee. According to their literature: "The ITA recipient must be an active job seeker of The Source, be eligible for Workforce Investment Act services, have completed both Core and Intensive services, and be determined in need of training." You can't just walk in and ask for the money. You have to work with a counselor, and the work for which you train most likely has to be on the list of "demand occupations." That is, good-paying jobs for which there is a demand. If a new high-paying field pops up, say, in the "green energy" field that is popular now, you can probably get financial help for training in that field. But if it's a low-paying or low-demand job, the state or federal government may not help you out.

So the money doesn't go straight to you, the job seeker/trainee, but to agencies that create programs. To get access to the resources, you have to work with the agency, and around their rules. Still, it's a great opportunity. Just be ready to deal with its conditions. To see about workforce development training in Lucas County, contact the source at 419-213-5627 or see their website at

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