ProSTEP Employee Training Assistance Fund
Now accepting applications from individual businesses and training providers!
The Employee Training Assistance Fund (ETAF) administered by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC), is funded by a U.S. Department of Labor grant to enhance the skills of existing employees in high skilled occupations commonly filled by H-1B Visa workers.
Financial assistance is available to businesses in the Advanced Manufacturing sector and to businesses with IT/Software occupations to offset training costs for employees in targeted occupation groups. Training providers may also apply for funding on behalf of an eligible company or a consortium of eligible companies. The ETAF was created to increase business competiveness and employee retention by supporting regional employers’ efforts to skill-up their existing workforce.
- Companies must be located in Clark, Cowlitz or Wahkiakum counties
- Employees to be trained must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen/resident
- Funds are available to Advanced Manufacturing companies and to businesses with IT/Software occupations seeking to improve the skills of their current employees in these targeted occupations:
||CNC Machine Tool Operators and Programmers
||Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, Weighers
|General and Operations Managers
||Welding, Soldering and Brazing
|Industrial Production Managers
||Structural Metal Fabricators/Fitters
||Tool and Die Makers
||Machine Setters, Operators and Tenders
IT & Software Occupations
|Computer Support & All Other Specialists
||Network and Computer Systems Administrators
|Computer Hardware Engineers
|Computer Software Engineers, Applications
||Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software
Application Process, Acceptance and Grant Enrollment
- Complete and sign the ProSTEP Employee Training Assistance Fund Application & Training Plan and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, within 10 business days of receipt.
- Application approval/denial notifications will be made within 20 business days after receipt.
- Upon approval of the Application & Training Plan, the company must enter into an Employee Training Assistance Fund (ETAF) Agreement with the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC). The Agreement is an umbrella contract between SWWDC and the business in which the business agrees to abide by the rules governing the grant funds for all positions that have been identified for training in the Application & Training Plan.
- Workers to receive training must be enrolled in the grant prior to the start of training; and must complete a brief online application.
- SWWDC staff will assist the business to verify eligibility of the employees to be trained and finalize grant enrollment. Employees will be required to provide government issued identification.
- When grant enrollment is completed, employees may start their training.
Matching Funds Requirement
The grant funds carry an 85 percent match requirement. The match can be met through:
- Wages paid to employees while in training
- Wages paid to company staff who coordinate the planning, implementation and oversight of training
- Training costs paid by the business that are not covered by the grant
- Funds are available on a first come, first served basis
- Applications can be submitted by a business or a consortium of several businesses
- Applications from Minority and Women Owned Businesses (MWBE) will be prioritized for funding. Learn more about MWBE at
- Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2015 or before if all funds have been awarded.
- All training must be completed by September 30, 2015
- A minimum level of employees’ personal information is required to report on the success of the program. For grant eligibility purposes, companies will need to report the following information on workers trained by the grant:
- Employment retention data, for each worker trained, for two quarters following completion of training
- Occupational data for workers trained (i.e., occupation title, employment start date, promotions or advancements after training, wage and wage gains)
- An attestation that wages were paid to employees while in training if using this to meet the match requirement
View the ProSTEP Employee Training Assistance Fund Overview (link below) for more detailed information and application instructions.
For Business: Overview ProSTEP Employee Training Assistance Fund
For Training Providers: Overview ProSTEP Employee Training Assistance Fund
Application - Fillable Word document
For questions related to the Employee Training Assistance Fund or other aspects of the ProSTEP initiative, contact Lee Ann Lawrence at email@example.com or 360.567.3170.
Now more than ever, the value of your business is determined by the skills and abilities of your employees. Our U.S. businesses invest significantly in talent and training to ensure they are globally competitive. Upgrading the skillsets of existing workforce or incoming workforce is an ongoing critical need.
The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC) secures and manages training grants and opportunities for our top local employers, as well as small-and-medium sized businesses. We have facilitated customized on-site training, certification training, online training, and consortium-style classroom training through key partners. If you are not sure what you need, contact your Business Concierge in Cowlitz or Clark County.
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