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Incumbent Worker Program

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Incumbent Worker Program

The Heartland Workforce Solutions board has set aside Incumbent Worker funding to be made available to businesses to ensure that employees of a company can acquire the skills necessary to retain employment and advance within the company, or to acquire the skills necessary to avert a layoff.

This program requires a percentage-based matching contribution by the employer based on various factors outlined in the policy and application. Local businesses are asked to provide a matching contribution ranging from 10-50% of the total cost:



Incumbent worker training under WIOA provides both workers and employers with the opportunity to build and maintain a quality workforce and increase both participants’ and companies’ competitiveness.

Incumbent Worker Flyer

Matching Requirements

Employers are required to pay a portion of the training. This may be done through both cash payments and fairly evaluated in-kind contributions. The employer contribution may include the wages the employer pays to the incumbent worker trainee while the worker is attending training.



If the request for funding is approved by the workforce board a contract will be developed outlining what training will be provided and how cost will be shared. A sample copy of an Incumbent Worker Contract can be found [here].


Application and Proposal Requirements

Applying for the Incumbent Worker Training Program requires the completion of the application form. As part of completing this application form, you will be required to upload two documents:

  • A Training Plan Proposal (limited to two pages maximum) (85 points)
  • An Organizational Statement related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (15 points)

Application Form


Training Plan Proposal Requirements

The Training Plan Proposal should consist of at least the following elements:

  • A detailed description of all training to take place, including the timelines and costs associated with the training (including the potential number of trainees) (25 points)
  • Identification of the organization providing the training services and what credentials/certificates an individual might obtain as part of the training. (15 points)
  • A description of how the training will benefit your organization. (15 points)
  • A description of how the training will benefit your employees through job retention, increased wages, increased skills, increased benefits, future earning potential, and/or other value added benefits of the training. (15 points)
  • A description of any impacts of this training on underrepresented populations within your industry or within the specific occupations being trained. (15 points)

There is a two page limit to the training plan proposal.

Scoring related to the application will consist of up to 85 points from the training proposal and up to 15 points from the DEIA organizational statement.

For additional questions about the Incumbent Worker Training program, please contact Stan Odenthal ( or Betty McKernan (


Incumbent Worker Program Flyers

Incumbent Worker Flyer

Incumbent Worker Program Presentations

Incumbent Worker Policies

Coming Soon


Examples of Training under the Incumbent Worker Program

Incumbent worker training funds are often used to enhance the skills and knowledge of existing employees to meet the changing demands of their jobs or industry. Some common examples include:

  • Skill Upgrades: Funds may be used for training programs that teach employees new skills relevant to their current roles, such as advanced software proficiency, technical skills, or industry-specific certifications.
  • Professional Development: Employees can use these funds to attend workshops, conferences, or seminars to stay updated on industry trends, best practices, and new technologies.
  • Cross-Training: Funds may be allocated to cross-train employees in different areas of the business, making them more versatile and adaptable to different roles within the company.
  • Leadership Training: Investing in leadership and management training helps employees move into supervisory or managerial roles, fostering career growth within the organization.
  • Compliance Training: In industries with constantly changing regulations, funds may be used to ensure that employees receive the necessary training to stay compliant with new laws and standards.
  • Soft Skills Development: Training programs focused on developing soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving can contribute to a more effective and harmonious work environment.
  • Adoption of New Technologies: As technology evolves, funds may be used to train employees on the use of new tools, software, or equipment to improve efficiency and productivity.
  • Health and Safety Training: Ensuring a safe work environment is crucial. Funds can be used for training programs that educate employees on health and safety protocols and practices.
  • Customer Service Training: In customer-centric industries, investing in training programs that enhance customer service skills can lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Language or Cultural Training: In diverse workplaces, funds may be used to provide language or cultural sensitivity training to facilitate better communication and understanding among employees.

    These examples highlight the diverse ways in which incumbent worker training funds can be utilized to benefit both employees and the organization as a whole.


Webinars and Other Resources about Incumbent Worker Funds

Workforce GPS Incumbent Worker Training Webinars

Additional Resources

Adult Career Services

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National Career Readiness Certificate

The certificate confirms essential work skills needed for job success. It is widely used by employers, educators, workforce developers and others to provide evidence that career seekers have the necessary skills employers are looking for. Register here to take the assessment.

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NEworks Online

NEworks is a comprehensive, online resource that features job openings, career exploration, employer information, education and labor market research information. Career seekers, students or employers can use the site whenever they need accurate data to make informed decisions on careers, training, wages, occupation searches and resource recruitment.

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