7 Tips for Making the Most of Hiring Grants

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 Photo by Matt Christenson, Wikimedia Commons

Many governments offer hiring incentives to promote new job creation. These programs often target specific industries or demographics in an attempt to support those most challenged by economic conditions. Sometimes hiring incentives make it possible for a company to hire sooner or more often; sometimes they offer access to a more diverse talent pool than would otherwise be tapped.

Here a few examples of hiring incentives that might be available in your jurisdiction:

Hiring Incentive Examples - USA

Disability Employment Initiative: The U.S. Department of Labor earmarks funding to provide education, training and employment opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities to provide “career pathways and employment opportunities that result in economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities” and to provide employers with “access to a diverse pool of qualified job seekers.”

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.

Additional Programs: New programs recently announced in the U.S. include; Ready to Work Partnership Grants, Workforce Innovation Fund Grants and American Apprenticeship Grants.[1]

Hiring Incentive Examples - Canada

Environmental Internship Program: The International Environmental Youth Corp (IEYC) program is a federally-funded program that encourages the hiring of new graduates and young professionals. Eligible Canadian companies can receive up to $12,000 to host a young professional in a full-time, permanent position related to the environment.

Canada Job Grant: Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant. The Grant will provide access to a maximum $5,000 federal contribution per person towards training at eligible training institutions.

Career Focus: Career Focus provides funding for local, regional, and national employers and organizations to design and deliver a range of activities that enable youth make more informed career decisions, develop their skills and benefit from work experiences. The program aims to help facilitate youth transition into the labour market.

Hiring Incentive Examples – UK

Apprenticeship Grant: For Employers of 16 to 24 year olds (AGE 16 to 24). The AGE 16 to 24 Grant for Employers (£1,500) supports businesses (who would not otherwise be in a position to do so) to recruit individuals aged 16 to 24 into employment through apprenticeship.

Work Choice: Work Choice helps employers hire disabled persons who need specialist support. Employers could claim a wage incentive (up to £2,275) for providing a job lasting 26 weeks to an 18 to 24-year-old who’s participating in Work Choice.

Hiring Incentive Examples – Australia

Support for Adult Australian Apprentices: The Support for Adult Australian Apprentices initiative provides financial support to eligible Australian apprentices or their employers. The purpose of the program is to remove barriers for adult Australian apprentices and to encourage up-skilling by adult workers through an Australian apprenticeship.

Restart: Eligible employers will receive $3,000 if they hire a full-time mature-age job seeker who was previously unemployed for a minimum of six months and employ that person for at least six months. Once that job seeker has been working for the same employer for 12 months, the employer will receive another payment of $3,000. The employer will then receive a further $2,000 once the same job seeker has been with them for 18 months—and an additional $2,000 at 24 months.

Making the Most of Hiring Grants

As with most programs designed by bureaucrats, hiring and training grants typically involve administrative red tape. Here are a few tips for simplifying your experience should you decide to explore government-funded hiring incentives.

  1. Confirm that your company is eligible for the support before investing the time in an application process. Typically, programs of this nature are designed to support a certain type of business. Check for minimum required annual revenue figures or employee counts. Also check for maximums.
  2. Find out exactly what your commitments would be with respect to the program and be sure you are willing and able to meet them. Understand what the reporting reqwuiements will be and determine, for example, whether anyone supported through the program must be
    1. hired full-time;
    2. employed for a minimum period of time and/or transitioned to permanent, full-time once the program commitment is fulfilled;
    3. given benefits and/or a proscribed minimum rate of pay; or
    4. trained in specific skills to specified level of competency.  
  3. Identify important dates associated with the program.
    1. Is there submission deadline?
    2. When does the program close?
    3. How quickly will you be notified of a successful application?
    4. When does the money flow—at time of approval, when a candidate is hired or when the terms of the commitment are met?
  4. Determine the limitations of the program (e.g. maximum number of hires that can be supported on one application, within one year, throughout the life of the program, etc.), and stay within them.
  5. Understand the objectives of the program and the mandate of the department funding it. Is the intent to create new jobs for unemployed skilled labor in a particular industry that has recently been hit hard, or are the funds intended to employ and train recent graduates to address the “skills gap?” When completing an application, address the underlying objectives of the program and how you plan on furthering those objectives through supported hires.
  6. This one is painfully obvious—make sure you have the most recent version of the application form and provide all requested information and backup documentation. An incomplete application, or one submitted on last year’s form, may simply be discarded. At best, it will be moved to the bottom of the pile and may not get processed before the money runs out.
  7. For maximum advantage, integrate the various funding programs available in your region(s) into your HR planning process. Use hiring incentives strategically to enhance employment offers and attract the best talent; or to backfill entry level positions, so more experienced employees can focus on adding value.

In the war for talent, a little extra incentive can go a long way. Accessing hiring incentives available where you do business and recruit may provide the difference that makes a difference by allowing you to stretch your hiring resources a little further. Sometimes a small advantage is all it takes to outperform in a competitive environment.

 

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[1] Upcoming ETA Funding Competitive Opportunities  http://www.doleta.gov/grants/pdf/ETA_Funding_Opportunities_updated_6314.pdf

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