By Frances Chaves
Isn’t there something you have always wanted to study? Or to be competitive in today’s job market do you need to update your current skill set with the most up-to-date practices?
New Jersey or the federal government has paid for many PSGCNJ members to go back to school! You can, too, by following these steps for WIA or WDP grants: Up to $4,000 is available for training through the U.S. Department of Labor-funded WIA (Workforce Investment Act) Grants for dislocated workers, the unemployed and underemployed, low-income population.
The State of New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development offers WDP (Workforce Development Grants) for Dislocated Workers.
A dislocated worker (1) has been laid off (2) was terminated but is currently collecting unemployment benefits (3) was formerly self-employed (4) a displaced homemaker. A low-income individual is at or below the federal-poverty guidelines self-suffiency levels, and can be unemployed or underemployed (working part-time or full-time).
One-Stop Career Center counselors can help determine what training you may need and which grant to apply for. Or you can consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://www.bls.gov/oco.
To establish your eligibility for a training grant you must:
1. Determine if you are training for a “Demand Occupation”:
- Go to www.wnjpin.net.
- On the left side tab, click on “Labor Market Information.”
- Then on the right side, click on “Labor-Demand-Occupation List.”
- Find your occupation on the list (save a copy listing your occupation).
2. Confirm that your desired training course is offered by an official provider:
- The EligibleTraining Providers’ List is available at http://www.njtopps.com.
- Save a copy of the page that lists your training course and its code number.
- Note that WIA or WDP grants can only be used at one school.
3. Be registered with One-Stop Career Services
4. Document a minimum of four-weeks during your current job search with three job searches per week on the work search record worksheet, which is available at Employment Services
5. Provide a copy of your current résumé
6. Attend a two-hour, Career Beacon program (register at Employment Services) Show your four-week, job search document and résumé at the Career Beacon to receive a referral to the WIA/WDP Training Grant orientation. Referrals can also be obtained on Tuesdays at 1:30pm at the Employment Service Office.
You will complete your grant and application and other forms at the two-hour WIA/WDP Training Orientation at the Greater Raritan One-Stop Career Center Training Services (tel: 908-541-5780), 27 Warren Street, 2nd Floor, Somerville. You will then be scheduled for a counseling session.
You will need to provide the following documents at your counseling session:
1. A “Letter of Potential Acceptance” from your training
2. Passport, U.S. birth certificate or alien registration card
3. Driver’s license with current address
4. Social Security Card
5. Proof of income (your most recent paycheck stub, and, if married, your spouse’s)
6. Top page of last Income Tax 1040
7. Copy of last unemployment stub
8. Lay off letter/letter of dismissal (if applicable)
9. Current work search record
10. Current résumé
11. A two-to four-page essay describing your employment history, why you are not doing that work, and detailing the direction you wish to pursue
12. List of three schools/training providers you researched (online is OK), reasons for your choice of school and how that school/training will enhance your chances of regaining employment
13. Copy of web-page proving that your program and school are WIA approved on the State Eligible Training Provider List
14. A copy of web-page identifying that the course/program is a labor demand occupation
15. Referral from Employment Services Department
16. VETERANS: copy of DD214
17. MALES BORN AFTER JANUARY 1, 1960: copy of selective service registration card or number (www.sss.gov)
At your Counseling Session these documents will be reviewed. About a week later you will receive notification of your grant-application acceptance. If approved, you will sign documents at Greater Raritan One-Stop Career Center Training Services and receive documents to hand-deliver to your training provider. Your grant can still be used if you land in the middle of this process! WIA/WDP grants may only be received every four years.
OTHER SOURCES OF FUNDING:
- If you do NOT have BA or MA degrees, you may be eligible for the FAFSA (Pell) Grant: at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
- If you have been in the labor market for at least two years, you may be eligible for tuition waivers. Contact the Employment Services office at 908-704-3000.
The process may seem long, but most PSGCNJ members report that the training they received through the grants programs have been invaluable in helping them land. Good luck and go for it!