There are a wide variety of incentive financing programs available to help a company that leases space at 1200 Corporate Way. The following is a sampling of those programs most often used by companies that move into Mid Valley Industrial Park.
State Funding Programs
Mericle has worked with the leadership of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor’s Action Team to help obtain grants, tax credits, and low interest loans for several companies that have relocated into our buildings. We will be pleased to arrange a meeting between representatives of your company and the Governor’s Action Team to discuss the potential availability of incentive funding.
Here are brief descriptions of some of the state grant, tax credit and low interest loan programs often utilized by eligible growing businesses.
Pennsylvania First Program
Businesses can receive support in the form of grants, loans and loan guarantees for job training, property acquisition, site preparation, land and building improvements, purchasing or upgrading machinery and equipment, infrastructure, environmental assessments and remediation, and working capital.
Businesses must achieve one of the following standards within three years of receiving Pennsylvania First Program funding: (1) create or retain a minimum of 100 full time jobs at the project site; (2) increase their full time employment within the commonwealth by at least 20%; (3) provide a substantial number of new, full time employment opportunities within a high growth industry; or (4) create or retain fewer than 100 full time jobs at project sites that are located in counties or communities suffering from high unemployment.
The program requires participants to commit to operating at the approved project site for a minimum of seven years. Full-time employees must earn at least 150% of the federal minimum wage ($10.88/hour). Loan terms can be up to 15 years for real estate and infrastructure and up to 10 years for machinery and equipment. Interest rates will be set at the time of approval and will be based on the 10-year Treasury rate. Each annual Pennsylvania First Program appropriation must leverage at least $10 in private investment for every $1 of program assistance awarded.
The maximum assistance amount shall not exceed $5,000 for each job projected to be created or retained. DCED has discretion to modify this amount for special circumstances.
The project may not commence prior to the approval of Pennsylvania First Program assistance without the written consent of the DCED to incur project costs. Commencement of work prior to receiving DCED’s approval will result in the project becoming ineligible for funding consideration.
Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority Tax Exempt Bond Program
The Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) Tax Exempt Bond Program assists in financing land and building acquisition, renovations and new construction, machinery and equipment acquisition and installation, as well as working capital.
Those eligible for the PEDFA Tax Exempt Bond Program are industries such as manufacturing, energy, solid waste disposal, wastewater treatment, transportation facilities, assisted living/housing, and nonprofit 501(c)(3).
The loan amount must be a minimum of $400,000. The borrower, along with its affiliates, together cannot incur more than $20,000,000 of capital costs in the city or municipality of the project during a six-year period beginning three years prior to the date of the bond closing. These capital costs include the current project costs and any outstanding tax-exempt debt. Up to $1,000,000 of tax-exempt financing, including outstanding tax-exempt debt, is allowed without regard to the $20 million capital costs limit.
The loan can be up to a 30-year term but no more than 120% of the depreciable life of the assets being financed. Interest rates are generally 20% to 30% below comparable commercial alternatives. Weekly variable interest rates generally track against the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Index (SIFMA), a weekly municipal interest rate index that serves as the industry benchmark.
For each composite pool project, the PEDFA loan amount must be in multiples of: (1) $25,000 if the loan amount is less than $1 million; or (2) $100,000 if the loan amount is $1 million or greater. There are no specified loan increments for stand-alone projects.
While up to 100% of qualified costs may be funded, in most cases lenders or credit banks require a significant equity contribution.
All applications must be submitted online by a local IDA or IDC, which is the “Applicant”, through the Electronic Single Application located at dced.pa.gov.
There are several grant programs available to help you reduce your training costs in CenterPoint. Mericle will arrange meetings between your human resources team and the state and local officials who coordinate the following grant programs:
Guaranteed Free Training Program
The Guaranteed Free Training Program (GFT-WED-netPA) provides grant funding for Essential Skills and Advanced Technology training.
The program’s Essential Skills training is limited to manufacturers and technology businesses, including biotech and environmental-technology companies, and provides up to $450 per trainee and $75,000 per company. Eligible training activities are those that directly improve the essential job skills required for the employee’s current position. These job skills are central to the employee’s position and would likely be found in the employee’s job description.
The Advanced Technology training is available to most companies and provides up to $850 per trainee and $50,000 per company. Eligible training activities will be those that directly improve the advanced technology job skills required for the employee’s current position.
To be eligible for reimbursement, at the time of training an employee must be a resident of and employed in Pennsylvania, earn at least 150% of the current federal minimum wage, excluding benefits, be permanently employed full-time and eligible for full-time benefits, and be an employee of the specific company location awarded grant funds.
Training costs must be “reasonable” as defined by market rates and/or other criteria. Regardless of how it is conducted (classroom, online, etc.), each training session must be a minimum of 30 minutes in length.
Training can be provided by a WEDnetPA partner institution, the company’s in-house staff or any third-party provider.
Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program is federally funded and designed to assist dislocated workers or financially eligible individuals with intensive job search and/or training services. To participate in WIOA services you must meet eligibility and program requirements. Local Workforce Development Boards administer the program.
This federal program reimburses employers for part of the cost of training. Through the PA CareerLink® one-stop system, WIOA works to address employer needs by matching them to the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
Career services include unemployment and job search assistance, information on the job market, job readiness, career planning and counseling, programs for non-English speakers, financial aid, supportive services, and financial literacy.
- You have been recently laid-off or terminated from employment
- You are unemployed
- You are collecting Food Stamps or TANF
- You are employed and your income is below the self-sufficiency guideline
- You are a displaced homemaker
- You are homeless
The funds can be used for job search and placement, skills assessment and evaluation, counseling, training services, for individuals and companies, supportive services, and labor marketing information.
On-the-Job Training continues to be a key method of delivering training services to adults and dislocated workers. WIOA provides for states and local areas to provide up to 50% of the wage rate of the participant to employers for the costs of training while the participant is in the program. Additionally, state and local areas have the flexibility under WIOA to increase the reimbursement level to up to 75% taking into account the following factors:
- The characteristics of the participants (e.g. length of unemployment, current skill level, and barriers to employment)
- The size of the employer (e.g. small and medium-sized business often have more barriers to participation at lower reimbursement rates)
- The quality of employer-provided training and advancement opportunities
- Other factors the State or local boards may determine appropriate (e.g. the number of employees participating in the training, wage and benefit levels of the employees (both pre and post participation earnings)), and relation of the training to the competitiveness of the participant).