Like many companies, Bonded Logistics has reduced its training budget in the past few years.
But when the third-party warehousing management and contract packaging company upgraded to Windows 2010 earlier this year, executives knew they needed to help employees get up to speed on the new operating system.
“We were having a conversation with a new director about training,” says Linda Bachinsky, human resources manager at Bonded Logistics. “He came to us from a company that had gone through the process and he mentioned this training grant. We Googled it and found the information, then got in touch with Charlotte Works to take us through the process.”
The training grant the director referred to is the Incumbent Workforce Development Program (IWDP). The purpose of the federally funded, state-administered program is to support lay-off aversion through skills-attainment training. North Carolina businesses that are current on federal and state taxes, are financially viable and have been operating at least a year are eligible to apply. Employers can receive a maximum of $25,000 per award, with a $40,000 lifetime cap.
Training can be provided in occupational skills designed to meet the special requirements of a business or in educational areas such as workplace literacy, soft skills or English-as-a-second-language.
Since the IWDP’s inception in 2003, Charlotte Works has administered 127 grants totaling approximately $2.9 million; nearly 7,200 workers have been proposed for training.
“If companies are on a tight budget, training is usually the first thing to go,” says Demone Frink, Charlotte Works’ business project coordinator, who manages the IWDP. “It’s a win-win: it helps employees upgrade their skills, which helps employers improve their business outcomes.”
Indeed, Bonded Logistics executives anticipate increased production and improved customer relations as a result of the training.
“On a daily basis, our employees are asked to analyze data from our warehouse management system. The preferred method for formatting and analyzing the vast amount of data from our SQL database is via Excel,” says Barbara Woodall, executive vice president. “This training will allow our employees to send data to our customers in a format that more people are familiar with, so our customers will definitely benefit. And it allows us to quickly review production information and determine trends in our business.”
Bachinsky has scheduled training for 56 employees with The Employers Association in July and August. Twenty-eight employees will attend a four-hour class on the new features in Windows 2010, then train others to navigate the program. Employees will also attend workshops in Excel I and Excel II.
This was Bonded Logistics’ second IWDP grant application. Bachinsky and Woodall credit Charlotte Works’ employer engagement team with its success.
“We really felt like the program orientation helped us know what areas to target,” says Woodall. “This grant was written more on the IT [information technology] side, while our first one focused more on soft skills.”
“What a great experience! I can’t say enough about Charlotte Works – they really gave us a lot of encouragement and support throughout the process,” says Bachinsky, who anticipates that Bonded Logistics will apply for future IWDP grants.
If you’re interested in more information about the IWDP, check Charlotte Works’ website for dates and details about the fall grant round, which should be posted in mid- to late summer.
April 2013 Incumbent Workforce Development Program Grant Awards
- Bonded Logistics, Inc.: $11,410; 56 employees; Microsoft Excel I and II, Microsoft Office new features
- Bull Engineered Products: $23,995; 26 employees; plastic injection molding
- Wrico Stamping of N.C.: $3,213; 22 employees; basic blueprint reading—machining