SkillUp FAQs


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SkillUp FAQ

What is SkillUp?

SkillUp is a service that makes it easier for employers to train their workforce. SkillUp was launched in early 2017 to help businesses produce highly skilled workers using a structured training process that aligns with business needs and industry standards. SkillUp helps employers plan and execute training to their workforce to eliminate skill gaps.

Why is Cuyahoga County offering SkillUp?

SkillUp is helping Cuyahoga County achieve 3 specific goals:

  • To help employers grow and compete in a global economy
  • To help residents advance in their professional careers, increase their skill levels, and increase their wages
  • To create a workforce that is a competitive advantage for Northeast Ohio

Businesses across the United States consistently state that applicants and employees do not possess the skills they need to grow and increase profitability. The premise of SkillUp is that if all businesses train workers using a consistent process and industry standards, the marketplace of companies could produce an ample supply of talent for their own business and for the region.

Is there a fee to receive SkillUp services?

No. Cuyahoga County is not charging employers a fee to deliver the services. The County is providing the SkillUp service for free so employers can use their money to invest in training their workforce for the skills needed to grow their business and increase profitability.

Which employers can receive SkillUp services?

SkillUp serves any employer, of any size, in any industry with operations in Cuyahoga County. Employers based in Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, and Summit Counties can receive services to support the training of an employee who is a Cuyahoga County resident.

Are there restrictions on who can be trained?

SkillUp encourages employers to train workers from all talent sources, including existing employees, new hires, interns, and workers provided by temporary staffing agencies.

What kinds of skills training can SkillUp assist with? How long is the training period?

SkillUp can help employers with a variety of foundational skill and technical skill training and development.

Foundational Skills
Foundational skills are the building blocks that help a worker. SkillUp can help companies train workers for the following foundational skills:

  • Literacy and Numeracy
  • English as a Second Language
  • High School Equivalency
  • Digital Literacy

Technical Skills
Technical skills are those that are required to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. In some industries (e.g. healthcare), these skills are also required for licensure and the job tasks and duties cannot be performed without demonstrating knowledge and skill attainment and obtaining licensure.

SkillUp will help companies train workers for technical skills at all skill levels – novice, intermediate, and advanced training.

The length of training is determined by the employer and the training and credentialing provider. SkillUp has a particular focus on short-term training that typically lasts a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 12 months. SkillUp does not support advanced degree attainment (i.e. Associate, Bachelor, Master, Doctorate Degrees)

What types of training and occupations have SkillUp supported?

SkillUp is not industry-specific and has worked with employers in more than 10 industries, including: Manufacturing, healthcare, professional services, information technology, transportation and logistics, and more. SkillUp has helped companies train workers in a wide variety of jobs, including: Nursing assistant and wound care nurse, pest control, continuous process improvement, hardware and software IT roles, truck drivers, human resources, various manufacturing and industrial maintenance trades, and more. SkillUp has supported a variety of foundational and technical skill training.

What is the expertise of the SkillUp staff?

The SkillUp team is housed within the Department of Economic Development and has significant professional experience serving organizations in a variety of industries. The team of professionals is poised to learn about the unique nature of each employer to help create a customized solution for the unique skill needs of each business.

Does Cuyahoga County conduct or deliver any of the training or instruction?

No. SkillUp helps employers by creating a plan to train workers for the skills an employer wants and can help the company execute the training.

What is the financial incentive? How is the incentive calculated?

SkillUp provides financial incentives to employers to ensure that training directly benefits the employer and the worker. The financial incentives are not a loan or a grant, but are a reimbursement to an employer for delivering the training outlined in the roadmap using the SkillUp managed training process. Employers are solely responsible for the cost of wages and training and Cuyahoga County will not reimburse training costs paid by workers.

Reimbursements are calculated based on an assumption that wages increase as skills increase, as the worker should be more productive and valuable to the business. Reimbursements are calculated using the following formula: For every $1.00 per hour post-training wage increase, Cuyahoga County will reimburse the employer $1,000.00 for approved out-of-pocket training-related expenses, up to a maximum of $25,000.00 per worker, per training plan. This formula yields a maximum reimbursement limit (e.g. A $2.00 per hour wage increase will create a maximum reimbursement limit of $2,000.00. A $25.00 per hour wage increase will create a maximum reimbursement limit of $25,000.00).

What training related expenses can employers be reimbursed for? Are there requirements I must follow?

Employers can request reimbursement for training expenses that are required for the workers to successfully complete training. This can include fees paid to a training or credentialing provider, personal protective equipment, and other training-related expenses. SkillUp requires employers to provide an in-training wage increase to workers during the training period. This hourly wage is more than the pre-training wage and less than the post-training wage.

How is the in-training wage increase calculated?

The in-training wage increase is 50% of the total hourly wage increase, up to $2.00. Employers may, at their sole discretion, provide a higher in-training wage amount than is required by SkillUp, so long as it is less than the post-training wage amount.

Can I train the same person more than once and receive reimbursement?

Yes. Each training plan allows you to train workers for the skills you need and employers can request reimbursement using the same reimbursement calculation, formula, and maximum reimbursement limit.

What happens if training costs exceed the maximum reimbursement limit? Will the County pay all costs for training?

Employers are responsible for paying all training-related expenses that exceed the maximum reimbursement limit. Employers receive a cost worksheet that clearly indicates the maximum reimbursement amount and limit and the total anticipated cost of training. All reimbursements are subject to approval by Cuyahoga County.

Why are financial incentives bundled with training process management?

SkillUp bundles the financial incentives with training process management to ensure that:

  • Training is delivered using a consistent approach and methodology
  • Employers and workers receive coaching and support services to ensure success
  • To validate that an employer directly paid for the training and increased the worker’s wages to coincide with skill increases

What is the process for Training Process Management and for requesting reimbursement?

SkillUp uses a planning process to help employers document their needs and create a plan to train workers. Once employers choose a training and credentialing provider and select workers to train, the SkillUp team will complete all required paperwork and send it to the employer for review and signature. In order to receive money from Cuyahoga County, employers must register as vendors with Cuyahoga County and provide a variety of documents, including W9s and certificates of insurance. The SkillUp team will process these documents for approval by the Cuyahoga County Board of Control. All reimbursements will require an employer to submit an invoice to Cuyahoga County, along with documentation of paid expenses for approved training-related expenses.

What coaching and support services are provided to employers and workers during Training Process Management?

SkillUp understands that training requires significant time and financial investment by the employer and the worker being trained. SkillUp will help the employer coordinate the training with the provider the employer selects and will provide advice to help the employer execute the training. SkillUp also meets with employees to review the training plan and provides success coaching to workers to help them successfully complete the training.

What is an industry-recognized portable credential and why is a credential required by SkillUp?

An industry-recognized portable credential is a test of knowledge and skill attainment provided through the training plan. This means that workers are trained to satisfy a business need and to industry standards. These credentials can also then be used by employers for hiring and promotion. SkillUp does not recognize “certificates of completion” to satisfy this requirement, as these do not typically test knowledge and skill attainment to a set of industry standards.