A young woman with her hair in a ponytail sits at a table in front of an open laptop. She takes notes on a notepad while watching something on the laptop's screen. In the background, out of focus, are a white couch, a piano keyboard and a tall plant with white flowers.
With online skills development courses, your employees can empower themselves by selecting from a variety of upskilling and reskilling lessons. — Getty Images/Chaay_Tee

Learning and development programs prepare your workers for the future of work. Training initiatives also help your small business retain employees, stay competitive, and upskill entry-level workers. Many educational solutions offer personal and team accounts, allowing individuals and small companies to learn at their own pace while focusing on core abilities. Explore five ways to find an upskilling or reskilling program near you.

Speak with government and nonprofit organizations

Reach out to state, city, and county governments to see if they offer subsidies or employee development initiatives. In some cases, funds are available to states for work-based learning programs through the American Rescue Plan. For instance, the New York Workforce Development Program has offered financial support to businesses training entry-level workers, and South Carolina’s apprentice program gives a $1,000 tax credit for each apprentice that your business sponsors.

Also, discuss workforce development options with your local Chamber of Commerce and industry groups. For example, the AARP Foundation funds grants for businesses upskilling low-wage employees aged 50 or older. The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) administers the program and the latest funding round closed in November 2022. Other agencies in your area may offer small business reskilling and upskilling initiatives, such as Aspen Institute’s UpSkill America and the National Skills Coalition.

[Read more: What Is Upskilling vs. Reskilling?]

Reskill or upskill your workforce with help from Google

Google provides all eligible U.S. companies with up to 500 free scholarships for Google Career Certificates. These self-paced online programs are offered through Coursera and take about three to six months (roughly 150 hours) to complete. Each certificate course includes hands-on projects, video-based lessons, and assessments.

Google’s free employee training and development programs help employees move into roles in:

  • Data analytics.
  • IT support.
  • User experience (UX) design.
  • Digital marketing.
  • Project management.
  • E-commerce.

In addition, the Google Primer App offers bite-sized lessons for business owners, managers, and staff. Lessons cover topics like cash management, customer service, and brand identity. Also, check out Google Digital Garage for free online courses, in-person events, and live webinars.

Other agencies in your area may offer small business reskilling and upskilling initiatives.

Explore partnerships with local colleges and learning centers

Community colleges and satellite centers may offer reduced-cost programs for small business workforce development. You can also get involved with local universities to help them plan courses related to your industry and offer internship opportunities or apprenticeship programs. Some colleges may provide discounts to small businesses willing to help with community skills gap training.

Indeed, Wyoming Machine, Inc. provides training to employees through community partnerships. It works with a local technical college and other manufacturing companies to offer customized, on-site employee training.

[Read more: How Your Business Can Leverage Upskilling and Reskilling Programs]

Subscribe to an upskilling or reskilling program

Consider giving employees access to on-demand skills development courses. Workers can view entire libraries of resources and classes via desktops, smartphones, or tablets. Courses cover upskilling and reskilling opportunities, including specializations, leadership programs, and technology tutorials. Learning platforms also provide analytics and benchmarking tools for business owners.

Here are a few e-learning content providers for small companies and teams:

  • MindTools: To enable on-the-job skill development, check out MindTools’ small business offerings. It’s for groups with fewer than 150 people and provides videos, animations, workbooks, interactive quizzes, and more.
  • Udemy Business: Develop long-term learning strategies and a custom training program by partnering with Udemy Business. It costs $360 per user per year for five to 20 people and includes more than 8,300 upskilling and reskilling courses.
  • Coursera for Teams: Access content from top universities and companies like Google and John Hopkins University. Coursera for Teams costs $399 per user annually for five to 25 employees. It supports 640 specializations.
  • Code Academy for Teams: Get step-by-step guidance to build skills in computer science, web development, code foundations, and data science. Code Academy starts at $299 per user per year for five to 25 employees.

Develop a custom program from free and low-cost courses

Many organizations and technology companies offer free and low-cost training courses that employees can complete on their own time or as part of their company’s learning and development program. These classes empower workers to update skills required for specific software tools, coding, sales, and digital marketing.

Explore upskilling and reskilling opportunities through:

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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