Incumbent Worker Training Program

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Incumbent Worker Training is an employer-sponsored program that provides grant funding to assist eligible Montana small businesses offset the cost of training for their existing (incumbent) workers. Its intent is to create a stronger workforce through developing employees and strengthening small business for Montana residents. 

                                          IWT Checklist: Grant Funding for Worker Training


Qualifying Businesses
  • In operation in Montana at least one year
  • No more than 50 employees statewide
  • Must be registered with the Montana Secretary of State’s Office as a(n): Association, Corporation, LLC, Partnership, or Sole Proprietor.* Some exceptions apply
  • Have a need to upgrade skills of their employees to remain competitive in their industry or the economy
  • Can meet the match requirements
Qualifying Employees
  • Are permanent
  • Have been employed at least six months with the employer
  • Work an average of at least 20 hours a week year round
Qualifying Training

Training should be short-term in nature (completed less than a year), and must be either:

  • Skills-based training: training a new task or a new way of performing an old task; or
  • Certified education: resulting in an industry-recognized credential or is offered through Montana's two-year college and university system.

The following cannot be funded:

  • Training that begins before a determination is issued;
  • Continuing Education required to maintain a professional certification or licensure;
  • Training customarily required or provided by the business or industry; and
  • Conferences and training affiliated with conferences.
Grant Amounts

Grant caps are tiered, based on the number of hours an eligible employee works:

  • 20-34 hours a week year-round $1000
  • 35+ hours a week year-round $2000
Qualifying Costs

Grant funding may reimburse all or part of the costs of training eligible employees.

Reimbursable expenses include:

  • Tuition, registration, fees, and required materials. Asset purchases are not eligible.
  • Transportation required to attend training such as mileage or airfare.
  • Lodging required to attend training.
Grant Funding is Limited

Grant funding is allocated to the Department on a State Fiscal Year (July 1st - June 30th), and is available on a first-come first-served basis based on the most recent submission.

Funding is allocated to the Department of Labor & Industry at the discretion of the Montana Legislature and is not guaranteed.

Match Requirements

IWT requires the applicant to match grant dollars:

  • 20% of training costs;
  • 20% of in-state transportation and lodging required to attend the training; and
  • 50% of out-of-state transportation and lodging required to attend the training

Any 20% match may be met in kind using wages paid while in training and travel status, except for sole proprietors.

Grant Funding Disbursement

IWT is a reimbursement program. By law, funding may not be released to grantees until the Department receives:

  • Proof of payment issued by the trainer (i.e. a receipt);
  • Receipts for other approved costs; and
  • Proof of completion issued by the trainer.
How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online. Access the applications at Montana Grants and Loans

If you are not already registered in the system, please register you and your business. Allow up to five business days for your registration to be set up. How to Register Instructions

Review How to Start an Application and How to Navigate the System before applying.

Submitted applications are evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted.

Applications should be submitted at least 20 days prior to the training start date. Applications must be approved before training begins.

Requirements If You Choose to Apply

Be prepared to provide specific information about the training such as itemized costs, dates, the training curriculum and description and how the training will benefit both the business and the employees. Businesses must also be able to contribute the matching funds.

Please use this checklist to gather your information before you start your application.

Partner Agencies

The Department collaborates with several organizations who may be able to assist you in other needs.

Contact Information

Michelle Robinson, Program Manager
Workforce Services Division
Montana Department of Labor and Industry
1315 E Lockey | Helena, MT  59601
PO Box 1728 | Helena, MT  59624-1728
ph 406.444.3351 | fax 406.444.3037