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Incumbent worker grants benefit workers, businesses

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07.25.2011College & CommunityCollege GeneralContinuing Education

SANFORD - Incumbent worker grants, available through the Triangle South Workforce Development Board at Central Carolina Community College, offer business owners a valuable tool aimed at preventing layoffs through the provision of specialized training.

"These grants go toward industry and business and provide money to focus on layoff aversion," said Cathy Swindell, CCCC's director of Industry Services.

The grants are funneled through the college, which oversees the federally funded workforce development program in Lee, Harnett, Chatham and Sampson counties.

Money granted under the program must be used for training that an employer wouldn't otherwise be able to afford. Examples of companies that have benefited from the grant program include Sanford-based nonprofit Lee County Industries, a community rehabilitation program that provides contract work from local industry to those with disabilities, and Saab Barracuda, a Lillington-based manufacturer of camouflage netting for law enforcement and the military. Swindell said hospitals have used the grants for a variety of purposes as well.

"Incumbent worker grants are for companies who need training to get their employees prepared with new or updated skills," she said.

The maximum lifetime limit a business can receive in incumbent worker grants is $40,000; the one-time limit is $25,000. Swindell said the grants are usually for much less than the maximum limit, as they are designed to provide specialized training that doesn't usually cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"You don't just get the money and then figure out what the training is going to be," Swindell said. "It has to be for a specific need. We sit down with an applicant, develop a training program based on their need and then see if we can get it funded based on that."

Incumbent worker grants are not available for the purposes of safety training, job profiling, any training process already in existence, or travel outside the United States. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and be American citizens or legal non-residents. Incumbent worker grant applications are accepted in September, January and May, and the awards are announced in November, March and July, respectively.

The Triangle South Workforce Development Board offers a variety of services, including JobLink career centers, continuing education for dislocated workers, and youth services.

For more information about the Triangle South Workforce Development Board, contact its office at the college's Lifelong Learning Center at W.B. Wicker, (919) 777-7795, or visit For more information about incumbent worker grants or to get an incumbent worker grant application, contact CCCC Industry Services Director Cathy Swindell at (919) 718-7212.