Workforce Training Grants

Program Goal:

The goal of the Workforce Training Grant Program is to incent new and expanding businesses in the state of Wisconsin.

This program primarily supports the following WEDC Strategic Pillar and Focus Area:

Business Development: Business Retention and Expansion

Program Description:

The program aids businesses in workforce retention and expansion into new markets and technology. The program provides grant funds to businesses to upgrade or improve the job-related skills of a business’s Full-Time Jobs. Grant funds may be approved for eligible training provided to existing and new employees in Full-Time Jobs.

Eligibility Requirements:


“Full-Time Job” means a regular, non-seasonal full-time position in which an individual, as a condition of employment, is required to work at least 2,080 hours per year, including paid leave and holidays, and for which the individual receives pay that is equal to at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage and benefits that are not required by federal or state law. Full-Time Job does not include initial training before an employment position begins. -OR- A “Full-Time Job” means a regular, non-seasonal full-time position in which the annual pay for the position ismore than the amount determined by multiplying 2,080 by 150 percent of the federal minimum wage, and an individual in the position is offered retirement,  health and other benefits that are equivalent to the retirement, health and other benefits offered to an individual who is required to work at least 2,080 hours per year. “Full-Time Job” does not include initial training before an employment position begins.

“Financial Institution” means a bank as defined in Wis. Stat. §214.01(1)(c), a savings bank as defined in §214.01(1)(t), a savings and loan association, a trust company, a credit union as defined in §186.01(2), a mortgage banker as defined in §224.71(3)(a) , or a mortgage broker as defined in §224.71(4)(a), whether chartered under the laws of this state, another state or territory, or under the laws of the United States; a company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a bank, a savings bank, a savings and loan association, a trust company, a credit union, a mortgage banker, or a mortgage broker; or a person licensed under §138.09, other than a person who agrees for a fee to hold a check for a period of time before negotiating or presenting the check for payment and other than a pawnbroker, as defined in §138.10(1)(a).

“Ineligible Business” means businesses ineligible for WTG funds, unless extraordinary circumstances exist, including but not limited to a serious threat of a business leaving the state, significant job creation or retention, or significant capital investment, and such extraordinary circumstances are approved by the Board of Directors’ Awards Administration Committee:

  • Payday loan and title loan companies
  • Telemarketing other than inbound call centers
  • Pawn shops
  • Media outlets
  • Retail
  • Farms
  • Primary care medical facilities
  • Financial institutions
  • The hospitality industry


The program incents job training that focuses on new technology, industrial skills, or manufacturing processes. The training must not be currently available through other resources such as Wisconsin Technical College System, Microsoft Office training, OSHA courses, welding, etc.

Job Quality:

  • Wages – To be eligible to be trained under this program, the position must be a Full-Time Job.
  • Health Insurance – To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must offer the employees filling Full-Time Jobs to be attracted, created or retained as part of the project at least 50% of the health insurance benefit costs to the employees or other equivalent health insurance benefits that are acceptable to WEDC. Recipients will be expected to continue to offer all Eligible Employees retirement, health and other benefits.

Eligibility Factors:

Evaluation of all WEDC training grant applications will include, but are not limited to, the following factors:

  • Training shall be related to a specific project.
  • The extent to which the project will retain or increase employment in this state
  • The extent to which the project will contribute to the economic growth of this state
  • Whether the project will be located in an economically distressed area
  • Whether the project will be located in a rural area
  • The financial soundness of the business
  • Any previous financial assistance that the business received from the Department of Commerce/WEDC

Eligible reimbursable and matching training costs include training wages (of production positions through supervisors), training materials and trainer costs.

Ineligible training costs include travel and also training that addresses any of the following:

  • Orientation
  • Credit or degree courses
  • Diversity
  • Consulting services, including strategic planning
  • Sales training
  • Personal development, such as for General Educational Development testing
  • Human resources practices
  • Non job-related training
  • Standalone basic or remedial training
  • Non-skill-related assessments
  • State or federally mandated programs
  • General safety procedures (note: safety training specifically related to the new manufacturing process or equipment may be eligible.)
  • English as a second language
  • Basic skills
  • Routine training not related to a specific project

Grant Award Conditions:

  • Training may be on-or off-site.
  • Those positions trained must be maintained for a period of at least two years after the training has been completed.
  • Grant funds may not be used for past costs.

Incentives and Available Funding (FY17): $1,000,000

Incentive is a grant of 50% of eligible training costs, up to $5,000 per employee trained.

Activities and Expected Outcomes:

Assist four businesses to train 200 employees.

Performance Reporting:

Recipients will be required to annually submit a performance report documenting job training as well as any other contract deliverable.

WEDC may impose additional reporting requirements to evaluate project performance and to ensure compliance with contract deliverables.

Application and Awards Process:

Applicants for a Workforce Training Grant should complete an application through a regional economic development director. The application will be assigned to an underwriter and go through the award review process.

For more information on application review, internal process and award distribution, please refer to WEDC’s award administration policies and procedures.