Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Will You Be Showered With Money? Depends on Whether You are in the Funding Stream...

After my last posting, I called the local one-stop career center (here in Toledo), and asked about money for job re-training. They confirmed that the online list at the state Jobs and Family Services site was the list of approved institutions for retraining. But they added, "Right now, all our money is spent until July, except for auto workers and displaced workers (workers displaced by foreign competition)."

What does that mean? It means that money for the funding streams set aside for those two groups of workers is still available, but that this money cannot be spent for any other retraining candidates. If you aren't one of these, you have to wait till July, when more general money becomes available. Maybe.

This is one of the hardest things for people to understand about the "billions" of dollars available in grants. Most of it is sent not directly to individuals, but to institutions like the one-stop career centers, who then earmark it for uses like job retraining. But the centers received the money on the condition that it be used for certain purposes that the government wants to accomplish. The funding stream for general job retraining is gone, but money came for those two other population groups. And it can only be used for that.

It happens a lot in funding. A nonprofit may create an IDA to help people buy houses, start businesses, or go to school. The funding from the first may come from HUD, and can only be spent for home buying or fixup; the second from the SBA, and can only be used to start businesses. The third might be from the Education Department, and the funds can't be mingled or used differently. And the funding doesn't last forever. If the SBA money runs out and isn't renewed, potential entrepreneurs will have to go elsewhere for funds. If you understand this, you will be more patient--and less frustrated--in trying to get funds for yourself.

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