Jobs that Build Employer Fund - Workforce Development & Adult Learning
Since October 14, 2022, the Maryland Department of Labor has worked expeditiously to review the high volume of applications that were submitted. At this time, we are no longer accepting applications. Please be sure to check this website periodically for updates.
The Jobs that Build Employer Fund provides an opportunity for employers impacted by Covid-19 to pursue innovative solutions to their most pressing workforce challenges. By offering financial assistance to employers who want to meaningfully support and incentivize their employees, the Fund intends to encourage better recruitment, smarter training, and enduring employee retention.
The Fund prioritizes two sets of initiatives that employers can consider implementing in their workplace: Employee Support Programs and Payroll Incentives. Business applicants seeking grant funding must propose a program that includes elements of one or both of these initiatives. Examples of how funds can support your business and workers are below.
Employee Support Programs
Even the most qualified and reliable employees can face personal challenges that make it difficult to excel at work. Between family obligations, housing concerns, transportation issues, and financial challenges, employees can be pulled in many directions, leading them to miss or turn down shifts, or change jobs in search of better opportunity. Highly competitive employers are rolling out generous packages of non-wage employee support, but it can be difficult for some employers to develop these programs on their own.
The Jobs that Build Employer Fund empowers employers to look at the needs of their employees and create an in-house Employee Support Program that alleviates some of the chronic barriers in their workforce. Employers have the flexibility to design a program by choosing from a list of allowable expenses and requesting grant funds to establish custom benefits that best suit their employees’ needs that currently exist or may arise. Examples of allowable expenses and support ideas include:
- Transportation - Many employees struggle to get to work because they lack reliable transportation. Employers can leverage grant funds to establish a program to help their employees pay for maintenance on their own vehicles, purchase or lease vehicles, earn a driver’s license, and/or pay for the costs of public transportation or rideshare such as Uber, Lyft, or Zipcar. Employers could also use funds to purchase a company vehicle that picks workers up and takes them to/from work sites to alleviate transportation hurdles.
- Housing - With rising rents, many employees are struggling to keep up, while others may turn down quality jobs because they cannot secure housing in close proximity to work. Employers can leverage grant funds to offer rental assistance or security deposit assistance for their employees, or offer relocation assistance to employees who want to move closer to work.
- Child and Dependent Care - Caring for children and family members is another major factor that places limits on an employee’s time and finances. Employers can leverage grant funds to establish an assistance program that covers the cost of daycare or supportive care services for employees’ families.
Wages and compensation are the most direct ways an employer can attract and retain qualified staff. In a competitive labor market, many employers now leverage bonuses and other wage incentives to bolster their workforce and stand out from the competition. The Jobs that Build Fund allows employers to seek grant funding that can be used to offer certain wage and payroll incentives to qualifying employees. Examples of allowable incentives include:
- Signing Bonuses - Employers can leverage grant funds to offer cash signing bonuses for new employees or employees who renew their contracts.
- Retention Bonuses - Employers can leverage grant funds to offer retention bonuses for employees who stay employed for a defined period of time. Retention bonuses may be used in conjunction with a sign-on bonus for new employees or could be offered to incumbent employees for continuing their employment satisfactorily.
- Wages during Training- Employers can leverage grant funds to compensate employees for time spent in training or professional development activities that may otherwise not be paid, and are related to the job. Examples include, paying an employee their hourly wage to attend an occupational skills training outside of work hours, or paying an employee their hourly wage to take English language classes outside of traditional work hours.
The Jobs that Build Employer Fund grants employers the maximum flexibility in determining how to best serve their employees. Combine elements from several of these examples or come up with a similar concept of your own. Any proposed program must align with all other funding limits, guidance, and policies for the Jobs that Build Employer Fund.
On the grant application, employers should identify which benefits will be provided, how employees will access and be approved for benefits, and benefit amounts and allowances per employee. Employers should also design their program with input from their human resources, payroll, and accounting staff and make considerations for how the proposed benefits may impact employees’ tax obligations.
This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by a federal award, awarded to the State of Maryland by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
For more information, e-mail Labor.JobsThatBuild@maryland.gov.