That was a record, says Kubicek, principal in Global Learning Corp., a company that helps clients with work force development and training, but it points out a valuable lesson when it comes to dealing with government agencies and bureaucracies.
"Persistence absolutely works," says Kubicek. "All you have to do is be patient."
The payoff for patience and persistence can be considerable. One of Kubicek's clients, a Pittsburgh bank, landed $225,000 in work force training funds. Another clipped $1,000 per employee off its tax bill with a tax credit earned for training its employees.
Kubicek points out that the Workforce Education and Development Network of Pennsylvania, part of the Pennsylvania Department of Community Development, gives out $22 million a year to businesses for work force training in the state. Millions more are available through federal programs that are charged with responsibility for economic development. Corporate and private foundations also make money available to for-profit enterprises for their work force development efforts.
The perception that getting a government grant or loan is like finding a needle in a haystack is erroneous, Kubicek contends. He says that two-thirds of submissions that are properly completed and that meet a funding agency's requirements get funded, and that 82 percent of applicants who alter their applications, based on advice from the agency or changes to meet the specifications, get funded on a subsequent try.
The trick, says Kubicek, is to know where to look and how to apply. Government agencies are eager to award money, because their future budgets are contingent on their past performance. If they don't give away the money budgeted to them by the legislature or Congress in one year, they're likely to have their appropriation cut in their next budget.
The factor to keep in mind is that they have very specific guidelines for their programs, whether they are grants, loans or tax credits. Generally, they are looking for opportunities to provide the maximum benefit to the largest number of people and the community. And they will want to see your plan for implementing the project and assurance that you have the resources to carry it out.
Kubicek says one company lost out on getting funding for some very specific technical training for its workers through a university-sponsored program. The application asked if the company had a training instructor. The company met all of the requirements except that one, and so was turned down.
Kubicek later advised that it might have been able to get the money had it simply given someone in the company -- the human resources director, for instance -- the additional title of training instructor and made that person responsible for training.
If you get turned down, Kubicek says funding sources will often provide feedback about your application, giving you valuable information to help in a second try. He also recommends that whether you are successful or not, you write a letter to the contact person in the agency or foundation to keep the relationship open.
People in bureaucracies, he says, aren't different in most regards from those who work in the private sector. Once you've made contact with someone in the agency, keep yourself in front of them.
Says Kubicek: "Whether you got funding or not, you've got an ally in the agency." How to reach: Global Learning Corp., www.GLCinc.net