Not all government grant programs are designed for businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions or local governments. Personal government grants are also available for individuals — Idaho citizens, including students, veterans, homeowners and remote workers, among others.
Personal government grants are usually based on supply of available funding and eligibility requirements. These grants are intended to provide a meaningful benefit to the local economy by creating opportunity, making housing more affordable, educating workers and raising wages.
Currently, more jobs exist than there are job seekers looking for work. Even among active job seekers, job seekers may not have the requisite skills to fill these positions. Grant program funding that supports education and training benefit both employers and job seekers.
Personal education grants
With personal education grants, people can enhance their job skills while contributing to a larger supply of candidates for Idaho’s talent pool. Idaho Launch is one such program, providing funds to promote wider accessibility to training for Idahoans — from high school graduates to mid-career workers.
Idaho Launch is funded by the Idaho Workforce Development Council using CARES Act funds and is coordinated through Idaho Department of Labor staff. For applicants who qualify, Idaho Launch pays 90% of the required funds for the kind of training someone might need to bridge skills gaps based on workforce trends, Idaho labor data and insights into future job growth. Job seekers and trainees can apply at www.idaholaunch.com.
The Empowering Parents grant program provides funds for eligible education services and devices to help students recover from learning losses and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Children must be K-12 students and their parents’ income cannot exceed $60,000 per year. Equipment and other expenses covered by the grant include computers, internet access, instructional materials, tutoring, education services and therapies. Funding is available from $1,000 per child up to $3,000 per family.
Figure 1 shows 38,421 school-age children in Idaho are in families who meet poverty guidelines and may qualify for a grant. More than half of Idaho families meet the sub-$60,000 income category and may have grade school-age children who qualify.
Lack of affordable housing is an issue throughout the state for employees and Idaho employers trying to fill vital positions. Some employees are pushed further from their work locations with longer commute times due to housing prices they can’t afford.
Others may have to decline job offers because they can’t find affordable housing. Many Idaho households are constrained by monthly housing costs absorbing 30% or more of their take-home pay, depending on income (Figure 2).
Remedial grants for disenfranchised workers, home businesses and low-income households all work to make housing more affordable. The Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) actively promotes fair housing grants to all Idaho citizens regardless of race, color, nationality, gender, religion, disability or familial status. IHFA offers a variety of funding opportunities for housing solutions such as low-interest home loans, rental assistance and relief for homeless individuals. These programs are supported by federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants, block-grant-to-states, partnerships with other agencies and more.
For citizens of Idaho who run businesses at home, small business grants are available as well as housing grants. Data shows 117,907 employees work from home in Idaho, or 9.2% of the population. A total of 71,951 Idaho labor force participants are private-company and government workers, or self-employed in their own incorporated or unincorporated business. 
If a citizen is using their home as a platform for improving other outcomes such as business, education, health or environment, the HUD grant initiatives may be able to provide the funding they need. Grant funding is also available to other Idaho citizens who work at home. If an establishment or employee is either in health care, education, scientific research or technology development sectors, they may have a higher chance of getting their grant applications approved (Figure 3). 
Idaho has designated housing grants for households with no or low income to assist them financially while they look for jobs or improve their income status (www.idahohousing.com and www.hud.gov). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Idaho per capita income is $31,509 per year, which exceeds the poverty-level wage threshold of $14,891. However, 10.6 % of working-age adults 18-64 and 202,091 total citizens in Idaho fall at or below the poverty level (Figure 4). Specifically, the Section 504 home repair grant program provides loans to low-income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their dwellings. The program also offers funding to 92,120 eligible Idaho citizens at least 65 years or older in poverty, or 4.9% of the population. 
The Census Bureau notes there are more than 118,808 active duty and retired veterans in Idaho. If a veteran was enrolled or is currently serving in the armed services, they are eligible to apply for veteran personal grants. These funds are used to mutually stimulate the Idaho economy while also benefitting veterans. Idaho Veteran’s Emergency Relief and Homeless Veteran Reintegration grants extend financial relief and assistance to destitute veterans and their dependents through the Veterans Services Emergency Relief Program. Relief grants are provided to eligible individuals to purchase food, fuel, shelter and other necessities for daily living during a time of temporary emergency need. 
Idaho residents may also apply for different types of state and federal government grants by contacting the following online resources:
- Idaho Launch
- Idaho Workforce Development Grants
- Empowering Parents
- Idaho Housing and Finance Association
- USGrants.org – Personal
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Idaho Division of Veterans Services – Emergency Relief
- Idaho Department of Labor
Ryan.Whitesides@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 557-2500 ext. 3628
This Idaho Department of Labor project is 100% funded by USDOL as part of $695,785 in Workforce Information Grant funds from the Employment and Training Administration.