It’s critical that your small business trains employees and further develops their work skills, but this can be tough to do on a small budget. To help businesses in your position, there are funds available in the form of grants. The trouble is that much of this money gets allocated to state or local workforce boards that decide which industries to support. So how can your business take advantage of these grants so that you’re able to deliver quality training programs for employees?

The best approach is to start at the federal level. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Business Relations Group will work with you to determine which programs your business could benefit from. To streamline the process, tell the group what industry you’re in and what you’re looking to achieve with the training, such as information technology or the development of marketing campaigns. If there are no opportunities at this time, the group can put you on a list and notify you when they do arise.

The next step is to contact the state, as some state agencies offer training assistance, tax credits and grants. What makes the state search a bit more difficult is that these agencies use a variety of names so you’ll need to be creative in your search. Use a combination of keywords and keyword phrases that will help you pinpoint state programs for your industry.

Another option for obtaining grant money is to contact your local community college or public university. Government agencies will often allocate money to colleges and universities, and they use the money to run training programs of their own. An advantage to working through a college or university is that they can help you with your grant application.

Government agencies also allocate money to nonprofit organizations, so it’s worth checking out programs in your local area. The benefit to going local is that you can get more community support, which is good for business.

When applying for grants at any level, keep these pointers in mind.

  • Thorough research pays off. This is the single best way to ensure you are getting the right grants.
  • There are a lot of requests for funding. Make sure the grants you are applying for align with your company’s needs.
  • To avoid wasting your time and the grant maker’s time, make sure you are aware of what the eligibility requirements are.
  • Grants are always changing, so if there is nothing available at the time, check back later.

For more information on grants for business training, visit Grants.gov.