The city of Madison is helping two local companies send employees to classes at Ivy Tech Community College.

Randy Johann of Ivy Tech went before the Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday to request grant funding on behalf of Madison Precision Products and Madison Chemical.

The funding will help pay for each company to send employees to a class at Ivy Tech that is designed to improve internal and external communication skills.

"Many times folks are advanced in their position because they're very good at the technical aspect of their job, but they need to improve their communication skills, their managerial skills, their leadership skills, etc.," Johann said.

The grant works as a 50-50 match between the city and the respective companies. For every dollar the company invests in paying for the class, the city will match.

Mayor Damon Welch said the 2013 budget has close to $50,000 allocated for the program.

"We're hearing a lot about workforce development training right now, and this is right down the alley," Welch said.

Madison Precision Products is sending 10 employees to the class while Madison Chemical is sending three. The costs to the city are $3,750 and $750, respectively. Classes will last six weeks.

"Given the state of the economy and the fact that the state's funds are largely tied up in unemployment insurance benefits, this is a great business retention tool at the local level," Johann said.

In other business:

• The board approved street closings for the Madison Regatta Riverfront Run Car Show, which is set for Saturday, May 25.

Closures include Vaughn Drive from the west side of West Street to the east side of Mill Street; Vine and Elm streets from the south side of First Street to Vaughn Drive; Poplar Street and Central Avenue from the Regatta chain link gates south to Vaughn Drive; Broadway Street from the south side of First Street to Vaughn Drive; the city parking lot between Poplar Street and Central Avenue and Kiwanis Park.

Those street sections will be closed off from 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The same streets were closed last year.

• The board will continue to be insured by Gardner Insurance Agency. The insurance group will begin giving a quarterly loss review on new and existing claims to the Board of Public Works and Safety.

The next Board of Public Works and Safety meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Feb. 4.