WEDnetPA Workforce Training
Kutztown University is one of 31 educational institutions throughout the Commonwealth able to offer Guaranteed Free Training (GFT) through a multimillion dollar grant awarded by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
To be eligible for the WEDnetPA grant, employers and their employees must meet the following set of qualifications as required by DCED:
Employers seeking Guaranteed Free Training (GFT) funds must:
- Be based in Pennsylvania or maintain a significant presence in the state.
- Be a manufacturing and/or technology-based business, to include Environmental and Bio Technology-based business.
- Be government, education, non-profit entities.
- Point-of-sale retail organizations are not eligible.
Employers must verify that employees participating in the training:
- Earn at least 150% of the minimum wage, excluding benefits.
- Work full-time and are permanently employed.
- Are verifiable residents of Pennsylvania and are employed in Pennsylvania.
- Are front-line employees or first level supervisors (can be both new hires and incumbent workers).
The Guaranteed Free Training program is available in a wide range of work skills.
Basic Skills Training
A simple set of additional qualifications determines which companies and employees are eligible to receive Basic Skills Training:
- Employees must be frontline employees or first-level supervisors.
- Employees with decision-making responsibilities (budgeting, policy, etc.) and/or employees who supervise other supervisors are not eligible.
- Employers must be manufacturing or technology-based businesses including Biotech and Environmental-Tech companies.
- Employers may apply for funding for any number of eligible employees up to $450 per employee and $75,000 per fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).
- On-the-job, ales, and orientation training do not qualify for the program.
- Funds cannot be used to address workplace literacy needs including English as a Second Language.
Eligible training activities, as set forth by DCED, will be those that improve the skill level of employees through the introduction of basic and entry-level work skills required to be successful in various jobs.
Possible topics include:
- Communication and Teamwork
- Applied Mathematics and Measurement
- Workplace Health and Safety
- Problem Solving
- Business Operations
- Quality Assurance
- Product and Process Control
- Workplace Behavior Skills
- Manufacturing Fundamentals (Welding, Soldering; Tool, Grinding; Setup; Machine Maintenance; Blueprint Reading)
This grant will provide up to $450 reimbursement per qualified employee (maximum of $75,000 per company).
Information Technology Training
A simple set of additional qualifications determines which companies and employees are eligible to receive Information Technology Training.
Employees participating in the training must be:
- Technical works or information technology professionals or
- Frontline employees and first-level supervisors of manufacturing companies needing advanced applied manufacturing technology training.
Introductory IT, introductory applied manufacturing and sales training courses are not eligible. MS Office software training does not qualify as this training is considered basic skills training and is eligible for that program.
Eligible training activities as set forth by DCED will be intermediate to high-end information technology topics that improve the skill level of information technology employees of the company.
Possible topics include:
- Website Design/Development
- Database Development
- Software Engineering
- Computer Programming
- Systems Analysis
- Management Information Systems
- Network Administration
- Information Security
- Technology Support
- Applied Manufacturing Technology (CAD PLC, CNC CAM)
Note: Word processing, spreadsheet, end-user and presentation graphics software training are not eligible.
This grant will provide up to $850 reimbursement per qualified employee! (Maximum of $50,000 per company.)
WEDnetPA is funded by the Department of Community and Economic Development through the PA First Fund.
Since its inception in 1999, WEDnetPA has invested in more than 15,500 companies and helped train nearly 1,000,000 Pennsylvania workers.
WEDnetPA partners provide expert support to help companies assess their training needs, develop training plans and apply for funding - all at no cost to the companies.
Historically, approximately 90% of all state funds allocated to WEDnetPA have gone directly to pay for employee training; with a relatively low operating budget of about 10-12%.
In FY 2011-12, WEDnetPA invested $6.9 in Pennsylvania's workforce. This leveraged another $10.4 million of private sector cash investment.
On average, companies provide a 4-to-1 match for every WEDnetPA dollar invested in training.
According to a recent report by the PA Department of Labor and Industry's Center for Workforce Information Analysis, even in this difficult economy, companies experience an 86% retention rate among employees trained through WEDnetPA and those employees increase their wages an average of 10% within the first year.
Approximately 90% of WEDnetPA funds are invested in companies in the Commonwealth's high-priority industry clusters:
Advanced Materials and Diversified Manufacturing
Agriculture and Food Production
Building and Construction
Business and Financial Services
Information and Communication Services
Logistics and Transportation
Lumber, Wood and Paper
For details and eligibility criteria, please contact:
KU WEDnet Partner: Linda Friscia-Oppé at 610-683-1382.
For further information about WEDnetPA Guaranteed Free Training, visit: