The Employee Skills Gap: California Has A Solution

August 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm



Owning a business comes with a specific set of challenges. Adding to that mix, employee training (so that your staff can stay current and grow) is one issue that is typically pushed aside; it’s even thought of as “out of sight, out of mind.” But many business owners are not aware that, in an effort to support businesses and boost employee retention, some states offer funding for employee training. California, for example, created the Employee Training Panel (ETP), which offers employers a chance to qualify for allowances to train incumbent workers on new or current processes. This way, employers don’t have to foot the entire bill alone.

California wanted to curb its rising unemployment numbers, especially among low-cost, lower-skilled employees who were losing jobs due to lack of training. When employees lose their jobs instead of progressing within an organization, it becomes a drain on public resources.

Through ETP, each employee is allowed up to 200 hours of training per year. If you think about it, that’s a lot of training – training that most people are not even aware exists. More importantly, resources are available to assist the employer. I’ve been able to help employers gain access to this funding. The challenge lies in actually finding companies who can use this funding and capitalize on it. Narish is actively looking for ways to promote the program, and more importantly, to do so in a way that is effective for both employers and employees.

Technically, every business is eligible to qualify for this funding for training, but industries like hi-tech firms and manufacturing companies have been specifically targeted to receive it. California is really trying to enhance its manufacturing and technology base, so ETP is a way for the state to tell employers that California is pro-business by making the state more attractive to business owners.

Currently Narish has access to approved training funds that can be used for eligible training programs.


Being a business owner myself, I understand the problem. My biggest challenge was finding qualified employees. Then, it was allocating the resources for employee training programs. The skills gap was tremendous. My company was in Illinois, a state which has similar programs, but also many more protocols and hoops to jump through, especially with the appropriation process in the legislature. In California, the funding is secure, and although all companies are eligible, high growth areas have been targeted to receive a higher level of reimbursement.

Narish helps companies navigate state-funded programs, bringing funded training directly to our customers. We know how to access over a million dollars in funding that can be utilized for employment training programs in 2014. The funding isn’t limited to specific programs, either – a wide range of programs is covered, such as business process development, quality systems, ERP, business productivity tools, sales and marketing. Even training involving strategic and operational planning qualifies.

One of our California clients needed Narish to help them train their employees about the benefits of a quality system and teach them how to implement the system. The company had been trying to do this for more than ten years, but they were tight on resources. We were able to take care of 95% of their costs through the funding program and help them get registered to the ISO standard. The only thing the company had to pay for was the certification itself.

We also helped this client implement an ERP system, another project which had been on their back burner. Many small to mid-sized companies delay setting up these systems because they appear costly and cumbersome. However, ERP systems really help to support a business’ efficiency efforts, and ultimately aid in cost management. We implemented the software, then went through the process of training the entire organization on how to use the software at a very effective level. The ETP program funded 95 percent of the cost of the training.

Ultimately, employees are a business’ greatest asset. A lot of companies don’t realize that without the proper direction, training and accountability, they may not have empowered and fully engaged employees. Taking advantage of these funding opportunities is a very easy way to make your employees feel more vested in the organization and to enhance their capabilities, making them more productive team members.

I often ask customers, if you could get a large percent of your training costs covered, why wouldn’t you invest in your employees? They’re a significant resource, and you end up with employees who will move mountains for you. They get quality training, and they feel fulfilled. As an employer, you have also invested in hiring and paying them, so… why wouldn’t you help them grow their careers? Ultimately, it’s all about empowering and engaging your workforce to perform at their best level and to be contributing members of your organization, and the returns are just fantastic.

There’s really no reason for business owners not to take advantage of ETP and its offerings.