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Need capital to train new and/or existing employees? Looking to connect with an already-trained workforce? Franklin County has you covered. PeopleWorks, a new initiative of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, invests up to $500,000 a year over the next 5 years in creating workforce opportunities for area businesses based on their individualized needs.

Recognizing that our region's biggest asset is the strength and resiliency of our people, coupled with the on-going need for local workforce investment, the goal of the program is to help solve the persistent employment challenges facing both (1) area employers and (2) unemployed and underemployed clients of Franklin County's social service agencies. Through the program, the County facilitates the private sector employment and training of low-income county residents.

This program includes a business-to-employment candidates matchmaking service we call “Workforce Navigation” as well as three workforce grant programs that can be used by a business, a group of businesses, or a vocational training provider to meet a workforce challenge. Click here for a program summary document, and continue on to learn more.

Workforce Navigation

Our Workforce Navigation service can help you find the workers you need to fulfill your business’s hiring needs, and helps individual job seekers connect with your business. Leveraging an extensive network of county and nonprofit social service agencies, this matchmaking service will match the knowledge, skills, and abilities of individual Franklin County social service recipients to the hiring needs of local employers that use Workforce Navigation. Click here for a list of the workforce development agencies that you can get to work recruiting for you by utilizing Workforce Navigation!

Businesses hiring individuals through our network of providers may be eligible to receive the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which offers companies that hire public assistance clients a sizeable employer income tax credit per new employee. Typically, companies can receive $2,400 per year or $9,000 over two years for each new, full-time employee they hire off of a public assistance program.

In addition to providing you with information on how obtain this Tax Credit, our Workforce Navigator will work with you to ensure that you receive information on other local, state, and federal workforce programs and incentives that might be able to assist company solve a workforce challenge.

Dozens of Franklin County businesses have hired quality talent through Workforce Navigation. To hear from one of our employers firsthand, click here for Channel 10’s Interview of JCPenney’s East Side Call Center HR Director and Commissioner Marilyn Brown (March 28, 2016).

PeopleWorks Grants

Our PeopleWorks grant programs are designed to provide businesses who hire social services clients with resources to train these individuals in the "hard skills" needed to succeed on the job. Eligibility for a PeopleWorks grant requires a commitment from the grantee business(es) to pay their new employees a "target wage" upon hiring (or be able to demonstrate one or more career pathways where an individual could reasonably expect to have the opportunity to earn the target wage within a reasonable timeframe). The target wage for a PeopleWorks grant will be set in each individual agreement, and can vary based on the industry of the grantee, the cost of the proposed training program to the grantee, the training curriculum/skills to be taught, and the projected future earnings of trainees, among other considerations.

Please Note that a pre-application meeting with County EDP staff is required before submitting a People Works grant application. See below for more information on each grant opportunity:

1. New Employee Training Grant (NET-G)

Franklin County's New Employee Training Grant (NET-G) is designed to assist a business that hires clients of Franklin County's social services agencies (Job and Family Services, Child Support Enforcement, and others) train these new hires in the skills they need to succeed in the positions for which they were recently hired. The grant will act to partially offset the cost to the grantee business of training their new employees, up to 25%. A grantee business may use a NET-G to either fund an onsite, on-the-job training program, or as an expense account for each new hire to acquire the needed skills offsite from an approved local vocational education provider.

2. Innovative Partnership to Upskill a Trade Training Grant (INPUT-G)

For the past several years, Franklin County, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, and Columbus 2020 have partnered together with employers across the county to help create sector-specific INPUTs (a group of businesses all operating in the same industry), whose purpose is to collaborate on solving workforce issues affecting their entire industry. An INPUT can form a sector-specific training program and pursue funding through PeopleWorks. Franklin County's INPUT-G is designed to support the efforts of an INPUT to train a pool of job seekers in the basic job and hard skills required for employment within the industry. INPUTs may design any type of training program they wish, so long as the training program will result in a full time job for trainees that finish the program. The curriculum, the skills to be taught, the size of the classes, the instructors, the number of trainees, and all other program characteristics are to be determined by the INPUT. INPUTs that design their own sector-specific job/hard skills training program through either one member firm or an agreement with an educational institution are eligible to apply for an INPUT-G.

3. Career Oriented Continuing Education and Placement Training Grant (CONCEPT-G)

Franklin County’s Career Oriented Continuing Education and Placement Training Grant (CONCEPT-G) is designed to support the efforts of educational and/or non-profit organization who wishes to train and place public assistance recipients into living wage employment at area employers. As a reimbursable grant, applicants must demonstrate strong relationships with multiple potential employers to ensure all training program graduates receive a target wage job.

Several non-profit partners have received CONCEPT-Gs over the past few years from Franklin County, including Connected Nation, Per Scholas, and i.c.stars. If you are a business owner interested in hiring new employees out of a CONCEPT training program provider, please contact our office.

Previous Grant Recipients

July 2016 - PerScholas (CONCEPT-G)

May 2016 - Engineered Profiles, LLC (NET-G)

August 2015 - Connected Nation DigitalWorks Training Program (CONCEPT-G)

How to Get Started

To utilize Workforce Navigation services for your company, explore a grant possibility, get connected to a PeopleWorks program partner, or just to learn more, contact Franklin County's Workforce Navigator, Michael Salvadore, at 614-525-7304 or

John O'Grady President
Marilyn Brown
Kevin L. Boyce