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Date:April 4, 2022
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Louisiana businesses see growth, opportunity from Incumbent Worker Training Program

BATON ROUGE, La. – Businesses in Louisiana have been getting help training and retaining their employees for decades with the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP).

“We started in the Incumbent Worker Training Program back in 1999 as a result of needing to develop new people within our industry to meet the demand of what was going on in the Shreveport/Bossier market at that time,” said Tim Keeley, CEO of Martin Specialty Coatings in Shreveport. “There was a huge expansion with the addition of casinos and other things into our market, and there just wasn’t enough skilled labor.”

IWTP is a partnership between LWC, employers both big and small, and training providers. It allows businesses to upskill their workers, which helps create new jobs, increase wages, and grow their business as a result.

“I’ve worked here seven years, and I’ve participated in almost every training program we’ve ever had,” said Justin Hawkins, one of Martin Specialty Coatings’ employees. “You can’t build a bridge on nothing. The training has helped my career so much because it’s a platform of skills that I never had before I came here, and you get all that for free.”

Employees who participate in IWTP get customized training at no cost to them. Most businesses are already paying for the program with a social charge that is paid along with Unemployment Insurance Tax contributions.

“The training program has helped me to go from just a regular job to a career,” said Daniel Johnson, who is also one of Martin Specialty Coatings’ employees receiving training. “When I first came here, I didn’t know anything about this line of work. I was a security supervisor, so I was kind of afraid to learn. But when I got into it, I work with great people who will take you under their wing, and the training here is good.”

Employers who want to enroll in IWTP must have been in business in the state for at least three years and be in full compliance with Louisiana’s UI Tax laws. For more information on the eligibility requirements and how to apply for the program, employers can go to

“Without this training, we wouldn’t be able to work for the companies that we work for,” said Keeley. “We work for a lot of large corporations – a lot of major healthcare facilities. They have certain requirements and standards of applications for individuals, and we tailor that down to the training we provide for them, whatever that level is.”

Small businesses also have opportunities to get help upskilling their employees through ITWP. The Small Business Employee Training (SBET) program reimburses employers up to $3,000 per trainee per state fiscal year for things like tuition and textbooks that come with a standardized training program they choose. More information on SBET can be found here.

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