Incumbent Worker Training Program


Under WIOA, Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) is part of a comprehensive business engagement strategy designed to meet the special requirements of an employer to upskill current employees. Incumbent Worker Training provides both workers and employers with the opportunity to build and maintain a quality workforce, and increase the competitiveness of both participants and employers.

What is the Incumbent Worker Training Program?

Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) is a type of work-based training and upskilling designed to ensure that California workers can acquire and develop the skills necessary to succeed in the local workforce and maintain employment. Oftentimes, IWT is utilized by employers to avert layoffs or increase the skill levels of employees so they can be promoted within the company and create backfill opportunities.

Who is eligible for the program?

Eligibility for participation in IWT is based on the following factors: 

  • The characteristics of the individuals in the program (e.g. individuals with barriers to employment)
  • The relationship of the training to the competitiveness of the individual and employer.
  • ICWDB shall consider other factors which may include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • The number of employees participating in the training.
    • The employees’ advancement opportunities, along with wages and benefits (both pre and post-training earnings).
    • The existence of other training and advancement opportunities provided by the employer.
    • Credentials and skills gained as a result of the training.
    • Layoffs averted as a result of the training.
    • Utilization as part of a larger sector and/or career pathway strategy.
    • Employer size.

For an employer to receive IWT funds, the individual(s) participating in the IWT must meet the following:

  • Be employed.
  • Meet the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements for an employer-employee relationship.
  • Have an established employment history with the employer for six months or more. This may include time spent as a temporary or contract worker performing work for the employer. It should be noted that an individual is not held to the six-month employment requirement if the IWT is being provided to a cohort of employees. In this instance, not every employee must meet the employment history requirement as long as a majority of the employees being trained do meet the requirement.

An eligible individual participating in IWT is not required to meet the eligibility requirements for the Adult or Dislocated Worker program, unless they are also co-enrolled as a participant in the WIOA Adult or Dislocated Worker program and will receive WIOA funded services in addition to the IWT.

What are some benefits to the program?
  1. Upskill current, reliable employees at a discounted rate
  2. Provide opportunities for long-time employees to rise through the ranks
  3. Creates additional lower-level job openings
  4. Boosts morale and gives an incentive for employees to remain at the organization