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Funding for Worker Training & Hiring Tax Credits

Workforce Training Grants

Important Policy Changes to the Hiring Incentive Training Grant program, see below

Industry Initiative Funding

The Commonwealth Corporation oversees state-funded industry sector training fund initiatives such as those funded from the MA Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, the Workforce Training Fund (incumbent workers or new hires), the Healthcare Workforce Transformation Fund and initiatives for young adults. Request for Proposals are issued from time to time and you can check on those from their website

Click here to visit the Commonwealth Corporation website for an application and specific program requirements.

The Workforce Training Fund Program (WFTP) provides matching training grants, ranging from $2,000 to $250,000 to employers, groups of employers and labor organizations.  Grants are for customized training to achieve outcomes as determined by the applicant.  There are four types of grants within WTFP –Express Program Training Grant, General Program Training Grant, Technical Assistance Grant, and Hiring Incentive Training Grant (HITG), each with a set of employer eligibility criteria regarding size, training duration and available funding.

The following new policy  applies to General Program Training Grants:

  • Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English for  Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are priorities of the Workforce Training Fund.  In support of  these priorities, the Workforce Training Fund Advisory Board may consider waiving the requirement that 100% of time spent in training must be paid at the workers’ regular rates.  Such waivers may be considered when each of the following requirements has been met:
  • Training consists of  Adult Basic Education (ABE) and/or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL);
  • Trainee participation must be completely voluntary.  No aspect of trainees’ employment will be put at risk by participating. There will be no penalty or repercussion for participation or lack of participation;
  • At least 50% of time spent in ABE/ESOL training must be paid at a regular rate;
  • All other WTF requirements (e.g. eligibility, 1-to-1 match requirement, etc.) must be met; and
  • Additional monitoring,  including participant interviews may take place.

The Workforce Training Fund Express grant is targeted to small employers — with 100 employees or less — and labor organizations. Applicants must choose a training course or program from a pre-approved training directory. Applications may be submitted online at any time. Employer must pay at least 50% of the training request. Total grant request cannot exceed $30,000 per company for a 2-year period; $3,000 per course per trainee.

The Workforce Training Fund Hiring Incentive Training Grant
The Hiring Incentive Training Grant (HITG) provides cash grants to employers to hire Massachusetts residents who have been unemployed for 6 months or more, or Massachusetts residents who are military veterans (regardless of length unemployment).

IMPORTANT: New policy changes effective August 15, 2014. Download a summary of the changes.

How it Works

Eligible employers may apply for grants of $5,000 for each new hire who meets program requirements. Employers may receive up to $40,000 each calendar year.  Once approved, payment will be available to the employer once the new hire has retained employment for at least 180 days. At a minimum, a “New Hire Trainee” must earn $7,000 (gross earnings) during the 180 day retention period.

Eligibility Requirements

Employers:  To qualify for HITG, employers must meet the following requirements:
  • Must be in good standing with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue;
  • Must be current with all obligations to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including but not limited to Unemployment Insurance payments and Workers Compensation coverage requirements;
  • Must not be a unit of local, state, or federal government;
  • Must not be debarred from doing business with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the Federal Government; AND
  • Must contribute to the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund.  (Please Note: All for-profit companies and some non-profit organizations contribute to the WTF.  To confirm eligibility, please contact us using the information below.)
Employee (“New Hire Trainee”):  To qualify for HITG, new hires must meet the following requirements:
  • Must be a Massachusetts resident;
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a new employee on company payroll (Please note: Additional restrictions may apply to seasonal workers.);
  • Must not be a company owner (full or partial) or a relative of any owners of the company; AND
  • Must be either:
    • Any Massachusetts resident who has been unemployed for at least 6 months prior to the start of employment,  OR
    • A Massachusetts resident who is a military veteran, regardless of length of unemployment (proof of service required).
How to Apply
1. Complete an online application no later than 30 days after the new hire start date.
2. Submit all additional documentation including:
- A Certificate of Good Standing from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (sample) (must be less than 6 months old).
- Submit a New Hire Trainee Eligibility Determination Form for each new-trainee hire.
- If applicable, one of the following proof of military service: DD-214, Letter of Service from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or Letter from the National Personnel Records Center.
3. Once an application is approved a form will be provided to document retention and request payment.

On-the-Job Training is Available

The REB has been awarded funding for On-the-Job Training wage reimbursement of qualified projected new hires . For more information,  contact Melissa Scibelli at 413-755-1360 or email her at

Work Opportunity Tax Credits

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.

WOTC joins other workforce programs that incentivize workplace diversity and facilitate access to good jobs for American workers.

The legislative authority for the WOTC program expired on December 31, 2013. At this time, we have no indication whether Congress may pass legislation extending authority for the program beyond December 31, 2013. However, in the past when the program’s authority lapsed, Congress has retroactively reauthorized the program back to the date of expiration. In anticipation of possible retroactive reauthorization, employers should continue to submit WOTC applications for all target groups to State Workforce Agencies.

For more information on any of the above, send an e-mail to Larry Martin or call him at the REB at 413-755-1361.