Incumbent Worker Training Program Summary

Background and Purpose
Incumbent Worker Training is designed to meet the needs of an employer or group of employers to retain a skilled workforce or avert layoffs. An incumbent worker is defined as an individual who is employed, meets Fair Labor Standards Act requirements for an employer-employee relationship, and has established employment history with the employer for six months or more. Incumbent Worker training can be used to either:

  • Obtain the skills necessary to retain employment, such as increasing the skill levels of employees so they can be promoted within the company and create backfill opportunities for new or less- skilled employees; or
  • Obtain advanced skills to support business needs
  • Support the business to remain competitive; or
  • Help avert potential layoffs of employees;
    Employers must meet the local eligibility criteria to receive funds for training their workforce and the training must increase the competitiveness of the employees and/or employers. In most circumstances, Incumbent Workers must have been employed with the company for at least six months or an average of 6 months, if cohort training.

Individual Participant Eligibility for Incumbent Worker Program
Incumbent Worker Training is intended for workers with an established work history with the current
employer, and who, because of changes in the necessary skills and in order to remain in their
position, to advance in the company, or to avoid a layoff, these workers now need additional
training. To qualify as an Incumbent Worker, the individual employee must be:
1) US Citizen or Resident, or otherwise authorized to work in the U.S.
2) Age 18 or older
3) Male participants – Registered with Selective Service unless failure to register is determined
unknowing: https://www.sss.gov/Registration/Check-a-Registration/Verification-Form
4) Employed by a private entity or non-profit organization
5) Employed in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements for an employer- employee
relationship
6) Priority is given to full-time employees. All others will be considered provided training leads
to wage increase and/or full-time employment.
7) All training must lead to a minimum wage determined by the local WDB.
8) Have an established employment history with the employer for a minimum of six months.
Exception: In the event that the incumbent worker training is being provided to a cohort of
employees, a majority and not all employees, in the cohort must have an established employment
history with the employer of minimum six months.

  • Employer Eligibility Criteria
    The following criteria apply in establishing employer eligibility:
  • The employer is a private sector employer, non-profit organization or government entity
  • The characteristics of the individuals in the program and how they will benefit
  • The training is either in a demand occupation, leads towards a credential, intended to help the business remain competitive, provides skills needed to meet business demands, provide skills to address employees skills gaps and workforce needs, and provide skills that lead to employee’s wage promotion or position advancement.
  • The employer must not have laid off any workers within 120 days to relocate from another state
  • The employer must be current in unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation taxes, penalties, and/or interest or related payment plan.


Other factors (some may have been captured above) may include:

  • the number of employees participating in the training;
  • the employees’ advancement opportunities along with wages and benefits (both pre- and post-training earnings);
  • type of training / demand occupation; portability of skills to be obtained
  • employer size and employer’s industry and their market position
  • layoffs averted as a result of the training;
  • the existence of other training and advancement opportunities provided by the employer;
  • demonstration of how training will help the business to remain competitive

Funding Incumbent Worker Training
Under this policy, the maximum amount of funding for training an individual Incumbent Worker is
determined by the local WDB.

Employer Contribution

Employers who receive funds for incumbent worker training are required to
contribute to the cost of providing such training. This contribution can include the wages paid by
the employer to a worker while the worker is attending a training program; the employer may provide
the share in cash or in-kind. The employer share of the cost of training is based on the size of
the employer’s workforce as follows:

  • At least 10 percent of the cost for employers with 50 or fewer employees;
  • At least 25 percent of the cost for employers with 51 to 100 employees; and
  • At least 50 percent of the cost for employers with more than 100 employees

The employer size is determined by the number of employees currently employed at the local
operation where the incumbent worker training placements will be made. This size is determined by
defining each employer based on the Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN) and the number of employees.