What is the Blue Collar Jobs Training Program?
The Blue Collar Training Program provides funding to help Delaware employers (not just the State of Delaware) offer customized training programs to upgrade and retrain their employees and provide financial assistance to full-time employees. The overall administration of this fund is handled by the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO).
The State of Delaware is awarded funds (less than 1% of the available funds) for workforce development to foster career development and promotional potential in State employees in lower pay grades (typically pay grades 1 - 10).
How is training for State employees identified?
Each spring, the Office of Management and Budget surveys agency training administrators and HR managers to identify and prioritize training which would help employees in lower pay grades gain skills and advance in their careers. As training needs are identified each year, suggested training is presented to the Blue Collar Funds Review Committee for prioritization, selection and approval.
How are training funds spent on State employees?
Fifty percent of the funds are designated for training available to employees statewide. Last year funds were used to provide leadership training, writing classes, communications training, and a statewide mentoring program.
Fifty percent of the funds are designated for agency programs using an RFP process. Requests for proposals are sent to agencies at the end of each fiscal year. Last year, funding was approved for agencies to provide computer training, electrician's license exam training, office management classes, as well as other specific training designed to assist employees with promotions and development.
Agencies are encouraged to share some of the costs for their program. For instance, Blue Collar may pay for computer classes, but half of any certification exam costs might be covered by the employees' agencies.
How do I find out about classes that I may be eligible for?
The Delaware Learning Center identifies classes offered for free or at reduced costs through these funds, and flyers are sent to agencies when specialized programs are being offered. Agencies whose training proposals are approved notify their employees of opportunities.
How do I submit a request for Blue Collar Funds?
If you have a training course(s) you would like to be considered for Blue Collar Funds, submit your request to your agency/division Training Administrator or Human Resource Manager. Each year (normally in August) each agency submits proposals and meet a committee to discuss their proposals. You should have your request(s) submitted to your agency/division Training Administrator or Human Resource Manager by the end of July prior to their submission to the Department of Human Resources (DHR).
If you have questions about this process or do not know who to submit your request(s) to, email Statewide Training for assistance.
Each year, the Workforce Investment Board awards Blue Collar Funds to a variety of vendors in the Delaware. Contact programs of interest directly to find out if you qualify (some are only for those who are unemployed, some are for people who are “under-employed” and some have other restrictions).
To save you a few clicks, here are the Delaware Technical and Community College contacts (which seem to receive the most interest from State employees):
While these classes are not managed by DHR, if they occur during work hours or if they have a reduced fee, you may work with your supervisor to decide whether you may adjust your schedule or to see if your department can assist with the costs.
For assistance with other college classes, check with the Higher Education Office (302-735-4120), the Department of Labor's One Stop program (302-739-5473) and Vocational Rehabilitation programs (302-739-5478). Or go directly to the college of interest and ask them if they know about other funding sources. Your department's training administrator or HR manager may be able to provide additional information or assistance.