Date:July 2, 2007
Contact:Ed Pratt @ (225) 342-3035

Labor Department to fund pre-employment training
Agency awards more than $660,000 in training grants to Baton Rouge businesses

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Labor today announced that its Incumbent Worker Training Program, which has upgraded the skills of more than 184,000 workers, will soon offer pre-employment training opportunities for expanding businesses. This additional feature of the program was recently signed into law by Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.

“By using our pre-employment training program, businesses will be able to tap into a job-ready workforce,” said Labor Secretary John Warner Smith. “We are making it easier than ever to match skilled workers with companies ready to hire them.”

The department also awarded more than $660,000 in training grants to six Baton Rouge-area businesses, including Honeywell International, PCS Nitrogen Fertilizer, Protherm Services Group, Orion Instruments, Anna M. Jones, Agent – State Farm Insurance, and Community Health Center. These grants will be used to provide training for more than 600 employees.

IWTP is designed to benefit business and industry by assisting in the skill development of existing employees, while the Small Business Employee Training Program (SBET) provides this same type of training for businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

To participate in the pre-employment training program, businesses must meet standard IWTP requirements, which include operating in Louisiana for at least three years and contributing to the Unemployment Insurance system. The key difference is that the pre-employment training focuses on job readiness skills prior to hiring, while traditional IWTP targets those already on the job.

Pre-employment training may include screening, skills assessment, testing, remediation, and occupation and technical training.

“We are excited to be able to offer this training program to Louisiana businesses,” said IWTP Director Michael Harris. “This initiative will be an outstanding economic development tool for our state.”

To qualify for participation in the pre-employment training program, a business must be committed to expanding within the state. The business is also asked to provide up to a 50 percent match for training funds allocated to them and is expected to hire a portion of the trainees.

For more information on the Incumbent Worker Training Program, visit

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