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One S. Church Street, Suite 200, Hazleton, PA 18201      
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The Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board (L/S WIB) helped 12 companies, including four in CAN DO, Inc.’s Humboldt and Valmont Industrial Parks in Greater Hazleton, obtain a combined total of more than $50,000 in grant money through two programs that provide reimbursement to companies that run employee training programs.

The L/S WIB assisted the businesses in applying for the Make it in America grant and the Walmart Foundation’s Transportation, Distribution and Logistics grant. Grant programs like Make it in America and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics are authorized by the L/S WIB and administered at the local level by one of three PA CareerLink centers across the two counties.

Christine Jensen, administrator of the PA CareerLink Luzerne County, said funding is still available through the L/S WIB for the Make it in America grant for companies that complete training by September 30, and an additional round of Transportation, Distribution and Logistics grant funding is expected to be available in April.

According to a program overview on the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) website, grant programs like Make it in America are “intended to raise the technical skill levels of American workers so they can obtain or upgrade employment in high-growth industries and occupations. The program is designed to provide education, training, and job placement assistance in the occupations and industries for which employers are using H-1B visas to hire foreign workers.”

Jensen said, “This grant program is investing in our own workforce rather than reaching out of the country to find skilled employees.”

Aryzta (Otis Spunkmeyer, Inc.), Bemis Co., Inc. and EAM-Mosca Corp. were among the companies that received reimbursement through the Make it in America grant program. The Make it in America grant, which is funded through the Department of Labor, provides companies in the manufacturing industry tuition assistance of up to $1,000 for each employee who receives advanced skills training that leads to a credential. The training activities must be connected to the career pathway leading to approved H-1B specialty occupations or an advanced engineering occupation. Those occupations include industrial engineer, electronics/electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, engineering technician manufacturing, mechatronics, industrial maintenance mechanics, precision machining, computer numerical control (CNC) operator and machinist, programmable logic control, materials engineer, power supply engineer, metallurgist, graphic design, network and computer systems administrators, computer and information systems managers, software application developers and other computer occupations.

Although the application process for many federal grants is complex, Jensen said applying for a Make it in America grant is a simple and L/S WIB staff members fill out the paperwork for the companies.

The L/S WIB has also conducted more than 20 different training programs through the Make it in America grant including basic ladder programming, robotics and automated systems, industrial math, project management and supplier quality management. Jensen said the PA CareerLink staff can provide a complete list of training opportunities and information on additional competitive grants that are available.

InSteel Wire Products benefited from the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics (TDL) grant, which reimburses companies in the logistics and transportation industries for short-term training that results in a skills upgrade for commercial driver’s license (CDL) and fork lift drivers, certified logistics associates or technicians and diesel truck technicians.

Karen Pagoda, human resources manager at Insteel Wire Products, said the PA CareerLink Luzerne County staff made it possible for the company to be able to conduct a forklift training program.

Pagoda said, “We were able to fund our “Forklift Train the Trainer” program with TDL funding provided by the PA CareerLink at Luzerne County. The staff at the CareerLink could not have been more helpful. They made the process flow with ease by preparing all necessary paperwork with fast customer service. I would recommend the program to any employer seeking additional training. We look forward to working with the CareerLink to fund other training programs for our employees in the future.”

Jensen said, “The L/S WIB applies for various grants it can receive that provide training funds for incumbent workers and the unemployed. If you have a training need, reach out to us. There may be something new or innovative we can provide or other programs that fit your needs that we can help with.”

For more information on all of the grants available through the L/S WIB, contact Jensen at 570-822-1101 ext. 3057 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..