Incumbent Worker Training

The Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWT) is a competitive grant that provides funding to help eligible Tennessee businesses effectively train and retain employees by providing skills upgrades and process improvement training for existing, full-time employees.

  Pre-Application

Qualifying Businesses

  • Grantee must be a classified as a Tennessee for-profit business (or a not-for-profit business in health care)
  • Businesses in operation at least one year
  • Businesses which employ at least five full-time employees
  • Businesses current on all local, state, and federal tax obligations
  • Businesses not currently or recently experiencing, nor expecting to experience, a bankruptcy – all businesses must be a financially viable
  • Businesses must not appear on any federal suspensions or debarment list

Costs That May Qualify for Reimbursement

Grant funding may reimburse all or part of the costs of training eligible employees.  Reimbursable expenses include:

  • Instructors'/trainers' salaries (capped at actual amount or $50/hour if company trainers are used, whichever is less)
  • Curriculum development (not to exceed 5% of total State obligation.  State obligation is defined as the time necessary for company officials to determine training needs or the actual development of curriculum)
  • Textbooks and manuals
  • Materials and supplies
  • Tuition expenses (tuition defined as being provided by an institution regulated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission)

Non-Reimbursable Costs

  • Trainees' wages
  • Purchases of capital equipment
  • Purchase of any item or service that may possibly be used outside of the training project
  • Travel expenses of trainers or trainees
  • Assessment, testing, or certification fees
  • Language training unless specific to terms of employment
  • Advertisement or recruitment

Application Process

Contact your Local Workforce Development Area for assistance concerning completion and submission of applications.


Training Services

All training must be completed by the last day of the specific program period.  All programs with statewide funds need to have end dates that complete training no later than December 31, 2017.  All training should have specific start and end dates.

Training can be provided through Tennessee's public or private educational institutions, private training organizations, trainers employed by the business, or a combination of training providers.

Training can be conducted at the business's own facility, at the training provider's facility, or at a combination of sites.


Grant Awards Requirements

  • Businesses approved for funds must enter into a contract with their LWDA.  The contract commits the business to complete the training criteria as proposed in its application, as well as committing to compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws.
  • Approved budget items are reimbursed upon presentation of adequate documentation of the training and evidence that the training expense incurred has been paid.
  • Businesses must submit monthly reimbursement requests, with required supporting documentation, to their LWDA representative.
  • Businesses must keep accurate records of the project's implementation process and certify that all information provided, for the purpose of requesting reimbursements and reporting training activity, is accurate and true.
  • Businesses approved for funds must complete a monthly status report.  The monthly report will only take a few minutes and must be completed online.
  • Any other contract provisions established by the LWDA must be met by the employer.

Monthly Status Report Requirement

Businesses approved for funds must complete a monthly status report.  The monthly report will only take a few minutes and must be completed online.


Project Completion

  • All grant projects shall be performance based with specific measurable performance outcomes including: the completion rate of the training project, number of employees trained, beginning and ending wages of trainees, and customer satisfaction.
  • Any payment for businesses receiving IWT grants will be withheld if any report is not submitted or all performance criteria specified in the grant have not been achieved.  Final reports must be submitted prior to receiving final payment.
  • Businesses must provide sufficient documentation (including proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.) to the LWDA for identification of all employee participants for calculation of performance measures required by WIOA, and for any other outcomes deemed pertinent to the grant administrator.
  • When an IWT grant award is made it is for the completion of specific training components.  If the company does not complete those training components by the end of the contract period then their final reimbursement will be pro-rated to bring their total reimbursement for the project in line with the actual training components completed.