SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – California awarded contracts Friday to 24 businesses across the state willing to offer on the job skills upgrades to new hires.

The contracts, totaling about $8 million, include agreements with several medium-sized manufacturing companies in high unemployment areas of the state.

“Small business often don’t have the resources to train their workers and our program has proved to be a very strong incentive for them,” said Brian McMahon, executive director of the Employment Training Panel.

The matching funds from the state can make the difference for a smaller company that needs to train its staff to operate new or upgraded equipment.

KCBS’ Melissa Culross Reports:

In rapidly evolving industries, an extended period of unemployment carries not just a psychological wallop. A long job search runs the risk that skills will become obsolete.

McMahon said the program administered by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency is unique among federally funded programs because it encourages on the job training that gives both the workers, and companies, a competitive edge.

“In order to earn our funds, an employer must train workers and keep the workers on the job for at least 90 days after the completion of training,” he said.

McMahon said the program has also been a particular boon to the long-term unemployed who find their skills becoming obsolete as the job search wears on.

In the Bay Area, companies in Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Marin, Solano, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties were awarded the ETP contracts.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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