***Editor's Note: As of February 4, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. CST, the application portal closed. All funds have been exhausted. For more information on other programs to support business growth, please go to our winnipegtalenthub.com***
A reimbursement fund meant to help Manitoba companies grow by upskilling or retraining employees is getting rave reviews from companies who have already applied to Retrain Manitoba. The program reimburses businesses up to $2,500 per employee to a maximum of $75,000 per company.
“We are delighted that the Retrain Manitoba funding has allowed us to partner with an internationally renowned company to deliver a world-class sales and leadership training program to all our staff members, which is not only going to benefit our employees but also our clients. These programs can be costly, and we would not have been able to provide training on a large scale such as this without access to this funding,” says Kelly Melchor, Executive Director, Winnipeg Insurance Brokers Ltd..
Support for business of all sizes in Manitoba
For Darcy Granove, it’s meant a much-needed boost to businesses still struggling with the challenges of the pandemic.
“My small business has benefitted from the Retrain Manitoba program, by creating opportunities for all staff to upgrade skills, knowledge and certifications. Especially following the recent financial turmoil of the pandemic, it was nice to have the financial support to invest in my employees,” says Granove, Principal Landscape Architect and Owner of Little Bluestem Landscape Architecture.
Any Manitoba-based business, not-for-profit, or charity of any size that has a valid business number and in good standing with the Manitoba Companies Office can apply for the program, which launched on November 8, 2021, and runs until March 31, 2022, or until funds run out. As of January 11, 2022, $7.4 million of the $12.5 million fund had already been disbursed.
(l to r) Winnipeg Insurance Brokers Ltd. Executive Director, Kelly Melchor, on CTV Morning Live, EDW President & CEO Dayna Spiring at Retrain Manitoba launch Nov. 8, 2021.
Friesens Corporation in Altona is just one of 1,000 businesses from across Manitoba that have already tapped into the reimbursement fund. Staff Development Manager, Dana Bergman, says the process was unexpectedly easy.
“We have engaged with grant applications and co-op programs before, and this is the most streamlined process that we have encountered in both application and funding reimbursement,” says Bergman.
“Other programs may take months before we find out if our application has been received, never mind if we’re approved for funding. Reimbursement often only happens once annually, and this program is a significant improvement over previous experience.”
There’s still time to apply
The program was supported by the Province of Manitoba and the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, while Economic Development Winnipeg is delivering and dispersing the funds. Workforce Skills Development Program Manager, Wynne Au, says making it as easy as possible for businesses was a top priority when it came to designing the process.
“Retrain Manitoba was intended to be streamlined and business centric. Our team wanted to make sure the process was as simple as possible, whether a company had someone in a large HR department, or it was a small business owner applying,” says Au.
"We’ve been processing submissions coming from a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations across all sectors in all sizes across the province – whether it’d be a local neighbourhood coffee shop, an annually celebrated festival planner, or highly visible construction company; there’s uptake across the board which highlights the need for continued accessible training tools and resources.”
There is still time for businesses to apply for reimbursement on several training options including:
- In-person, online and industry-recognized courses by third- party trainers.
- Tuition fees or fees charged by an external training provider.
- Mandatory participant fees.
- Course examination fees.
For more information go to retrainmanitoba.com.