You're developing an in-house training program to redress the government's educational shortcomings; why shouldn't the government help pay for it? There's plenty of public grant money available for training at small companies.

Several states provide grant money to improve employees' skills. They require the company partner to cover a significant amount of the cost. That contribution is typically in-kind: teaching rooms and paid employee time in the classroom all count.

Federal money is available, too. The Department of Education grants money to promote workplace literacy, for instance, and one Department of Labor program helps pay to improve educational standards in the electronics industry. Federal grant programs often favor small companies.

Begin a search for government funding at the customized-training or community-services department of a local vocational school or college.