The Employment Training Panel (ETP) Can Help You and Your Customers

by Aneeta Kumar

One focus of January’ Advocacy Corner was the Employment Training Panel (ETP) program, a state-run program that provides funding to businesses in California to support customized employee training.  The State Legislature created the ETP in 1982 and the program is funded by California employers through a special payroll tax. The ETP is a funding agency, not a training agency, but ETP staff are available to assist businesses in applying for funds and participating in the program.

Public Policy Committee member Pattie Grimm recently shared how the ETP program helped her in the early 1990’s, when she was a Vice President for First Interstate Bank. At that time, the banking system was going through a major change in the industry due to deregulation, and banks were facing new competitive threats from Savings and Loans. To remain viable, all banks needed to “retrain” their traditional bankers to be more proactive in sales and customer service. If unsuccessful, the banks were faced with the prospect of having to lay off a large percentage of their employees.

Pattie shared that First Interstate Bank successfully applied to the ETP program and received enough funds to retrain everyone in the branch banking system on technical issues, sales, customer service, and even leadership skills.  Pattie indicted that the bank’s training plan included classroom-based learning, on-line training, and on-the-job training, and afterwards, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and business results all improved.

Today, businesses are experiencing major competitive threats to their products, services, and people.  Look at how Uber and Lyft have changed the way people travel by car. Or January dinner panelist DeAnne Steel’s comments about how technology and robotics are impacting unskilled labor.  Obtaining training funds from the ETP program to retain existing employees and/or train new employees could help a business and its employees evolve and remain viable.

Moreover, if you are a vendor that can provide training to businesses facing competitive threats, consider alerting them to the program to see if they might be able to get financial support to use your services or products.  It could help their business and boost yours as well.

Aneeta Kumar is the NAWBO-OC Vice President of Public Policy. She is an attorney and partner in Kumar & Gerchick. Her practice focuses on assisting policyholders in obtaining maximum recovery from their insurance carriers for claims and losses, litigation expenses, settlements and judgments.