State Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, recently introduced HF 292, a bill to establish the Greater Minnesota Job Training Credit. The tax credit would help reduce the cost for both employees and employers by providing training funding for specific jobs and businesses that meet the qualifications.
“One of the most common problems facing our Greater Minnesota businesses is the lack of well-trained workers to fill the jobs available,” said Ward. “We have got plenty of talented, bright people and opportunities for training, but most folks simply can’t pay for it. We have to do all we can to ensure these people can get the training they need to get good jobs and grow our economy.”
“I support legislation bill HF 292 which will narrow the skills gap in greater Minnesota and allow us to increase training to both new and incumbent workers,” said Reggie Clow, owner of Clow Stamping in Merrifield. “The return on investment is employee compensation based on skills and competency.”
To qualify for job training funding, a business must be expanding or locating in Minnesota for the first time. The business must also be located outside of the metropolitan area and creating new jobs. The new employee must be paid at least $13 per hour plus benefits by the end of one year and must be employed at least 32 hours per week.
Once a contract is signed between the Department of Employment and Economic Development and the employer, the employer pays for the training. The employer is then reimbursed as new employee tax withholdings accrue, either with a grant from DEED or a tax credit from the Department of Revenue.
The credit or grant is funded through the tax withholdings of the new employees. The business may not collect more money in training credits from the state than the withholdings of new employees’ taxes over a ten year period. If the employee quits or the business closes, no more credits or grants from withholdings may be offered.
The cost of this program is $10 million per year, and does not apply to temporary work, recalled workers or replacement workers.
The bill has bipartisan support, with Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, and Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, signing on as co-authors.
“I’m very pleased to have bipartisan support for this bill,” said Ward. “If we work together, we can pass a great piece of legislation that will help as many workers and businesses as possible. With a slow economic recovery in Greater Minnesota, we can’t miss out on this opportunity.”