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Incumbent Worker Training

Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) is a federal subsidy to provide both employers and workers with the opportunity to build and maintain a quality workforce. The program is designed to meet the needs of an employer or group of employers to either avert layoffs or promote incumbent workers and backfill their vacant positions. The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) sets criteria to determine which workers, or groups of workers, are eligible for IWT services and the cost sharing required for IWT projects and employers.

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  • Opportunity to improve current staff’s skills to retain employment
  • Maximum reimbursement is up to $10,000 per trainee
  • Employers share in the cost of the training based on the number of employees employed, at least:
    • 10% of the cost for employers with up to 50 employees
    • 25% of the cost for employers with 51 to 100 employees
    • 50% of the cost for employers with more than 100 employees
  • Employers’ time spent on the training during scheduled working hours may be treated as part of the cost of the training
  • The majority of the Incumbent Worker Training cohort must have an employment history with the employer for at least six months

Employers will propose the IWT project, including curriculum, to Workforce Santa Cruz County (WSCC). The employer should demonstrate how the training will improve the competitiveness of the employees or both the employer and employees. IWT may be used for underemployed employees and participants in the training cohort are not required to enroll in the WIOA program. Priority will be given to training programs for individuals with barriers to employment. WSCC will monitor the incumbent workers’ employment status with the employer for six months.

The IWT application takes an average of one to two weeks to process.

Contact: For more information about the Incumbent Worker Training Program, please contact the Business Services Manager via email at

Incumbent Worker Training Program Process

Employer Submits IWT Application to WSCC

WSCC or Designated Review Panel Approves IWT Application

IWT Begins

Employer Submits Reimbursement Claim with 6-Month Monitoring Period

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