39-11-202. Primary sector business workforce training grants -- eligibility. (1) Subject to appropriation by the legislature to the primary sector business training program, the department may award workforce training grants to primary sector businesses that provide education or skills-based training, through eligible training providers, for employees in new jobs.
(2) To be eligible for a grant, an applicant shall demonstrate that the applicant is a primary sector business and meets at least one of the following criteria:
(a) is a value-adding business as defined by the Montana board of investments;
(b) has a significant positive economic impact to the region and state beyond the job creation involved;
(c) provides a service or function that is essential to the locality or the state; or
(d) is a for-profit or a nonprofit hospital or medical center providing a variety of medical services for the community or region.
(3) An applicant shall also provide a match of at least $1 for every $3 requested. The match:
(a) must be from new, unexpended funds available at the time of application; and
(b) may include new loans and investments and expenditures for direct project-related costs such as new equipment and buildings. The department may consider recent purchases of fixed assets directly related to the proposal on a case-by-case basis. A purchase of fixed assets directly related to the proposed training activities that have been made within 90 days after submission of the application may be considered eligible by the department.
(4) (a) Except as provided in subsection (4)(c), a grant provided under this section may not exceed $5,000 for each full-time position and $2,500 for each part-time position for which an employee is being trained. A grant may be provided only for a new job that has an average weekly wage that meets or exceeds the lesser of 170% of Montana's current minimum wage or the current average weekly wage of the county in which the employees are to be principally employed, provided minimum wage requirements are met.
(b) The department may consider the value of employee benefits in calculating the expected annual wage.
(c) The department may, in exceptional circumstances, consider a higher grant ceiling for jobs that will pay high wages and benefits if the need for higher training costs is documented in the application.
(d) A grant provided under this section must be proportional to the number of jobs provided, the expected average annual wage of all jobs provided, and the underlying economic indicators of the region where the majority of the jobs will be created.
(5) Funding ceilings must be determined by the availability of funding, the cost for each job, the quality of the primary sector business proposal, and whether training will be provided in Montana.
(6) The grant application, at a minimum, must contain:
(a) a business plan containing information that is sufficient for the department to obtain an adequate understanding of the business to be assisted, including the products or services offered, estimated market potential, management experience of principals, current financial position, and details of the proposed venture. In lieu of a business plan, the department may consider a copy of the current loan application to entities such as the Montana board of investments, the federal business and industry guarantee program, or the small business administration.
(b) financial statements and projections for the 2 most recent years of operation and projections for each of the 2 years following the grant, including but not limited to balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements. A business operating for less than 2 years shall provide all available financial statements.
(c) a hiring and training plan, which must include:
(i) a breakdown of the jobs to be created or retained, including the number and type of jobs that are full-time, part-time, skilled, semiskilled, or unskilled positions;
(ii) a timetable for creating the positions and the total number of employees to be hired;
(iii) an assurance that the business will comply with the equal opportunity and nondiscrimination laws;
(iv) procedures for outreach, recruitment, screening, training, and placement of employees;
(v) a description of the training curriculum and resources;
(vi) written commitments from any agency or organization participating in the implementation of the hiring plan; and
(vii) a description of the type and method of training to be provided to employees, the starting wage and wage to be paid after training for each position, the job benefits to be paid or provided, and any payment to eligible training providers.
(7) If the department determines that an applicant meets the criteria established in this section and has complied with the applicable procedures and review processes established by the department, the department may award a primary sector business workforce development grant to the employer and authorize the disbursement of funds under contract to the primary sector business.
(8) The department shall provide employers assistance in accessing workforce and education services outside the scope of parts 1 and 2 of this chapter for which employees may be eligible. These additional services may not be used to replace a grant provided under this section once the contract has been finalized.
(9) (a) A contract with a grant recipient must contain provisions:
(i) certifying that the amount of the grant already expended will be reimbursed in the event that the primary sector business ceases operation in the state of Montana within the grant contract period, which may be up to 2 years;
(ii) specifying that the employer may receive grant funds over the contract period only upon documenting the creation of eligible jobs, the hiring of employees for the jobs, or the incurring of eligible training expenses; and
(iii) providing the department with annual reports and a final closeout report that documents the wages paid to an employee upon completion of the training.
(b) The contract must be signed by the person in the primary sector business who is assigned the duties and responsibilities for training and the overall success of the program and by the primary sector business's chief executive.
(10) The department may adopt rules to implement this section.