IUP WEDnetPA Partner Supports 35 Local Companies

Posted on 4/7/2014 2:07:33 PM

This year, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania branch of WEDnetPA, housed in the Eberly College of Business Management Services Group, is working with 35 contracted companies with almost $353,000 in grant money to allocate.

WEDnetPA is a state-administered program that reimburses companies for employee training with state grant funds.  

Since the program was created in 1999, more than 17,000 companies across Pennsylvania have used WEDnetPA job training to improve the skills of their workers and enable them to better compete within their respective industries.

WEDnetPA usually houses partners at institutions of learning, including community colleges, and state schools, said WEDnetPA partner Wendy Kopcyzk.

The IUP branch of WEDnetPa works with mostly manufacturing companies and hospitals in Indiana and the surrounding counties.

“We don’t just have to stay within Indiana County, because the companies are allowed to pick whichever WEDnetPA partner they want,” Kopcyzk said. “Some companies have just been working with IUP for years, so they come to us to administer their grants.”

The grant money covers a variety of training categorized as two types of grants: soft skills training grants and information technology grants.

Examples of soft skills training grants are Microsoft Office training, communications skills. and basic manufacturing training. Some examples of the information technology training are computer programming, database management, and more technical types of manufacturing training. There are many more types under each category that are WEDnetPA eligible for reimbursement.

Companies have different methods of training they can choose from that qualify for WEDnetPA funding, according to Kopcyzk.

They can have a third party come in and train their employees, go to a conference, do in-house training, or contact a WEDnet partner which will provide the training.

Under the Management Services Group at Eberly, WEDnetPA helps companies who may be starting out in one of the other areas to train their employees.

“Companies may start in the Small Business Development Center or the Small Business Incubator, and then those companies grow and need training for their employees,” Kopczyk said. “So, they come to us.” 

WEDnetPA is virtually paperless when it comes to the application process and reimbursement, according to Kopcyzk.

When a company goes to apply, they will submit an inquiry that is reviewed to make sure the company meets all of WEDnetPA’s criteria. After all the application information has been filled out and eligibility is approved, the applications are ranked and assigned an allocation amount, which is then sent to the state level for approval.

If extra funds are allocated from the state level, companies can then request extra funding during the reallocation period.

Companies are eligible two out of three years or three out of five years for a grant, and Kopcyzk usually notifies them when their application period nears.

“The feedback regarding IUP’s WEDnetPA operation services is highly positive,” Assistant Dean Cyndy Strittmatter said. “We have an excellent reputation as a state WEDnetPA partner and are committed to continue working collaboratively with the statewide WEDnetPA office, other WEDnet partners and companies that need training funds.”

—Aleda Johnson

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology