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Worker Retraining

The Washington State Worker Retraining Program

The Worker Retraining Program (WRT) is a partnership between the Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and the Employment Security Department (ESD) to provide access to training and funding to support unemployed workers who wish to upgrade their skills or train for a new career.

To get started, please contact the Workforce Development Eligibility Office at 253-589-4311,, or visit Building 17, Room 109.

To qualify for Worker Retraining one of the following requirements must be met:

  • Facing a layoff and eligible to collect unemployment benefits
  • Currently collecting unemployment benefits
  • Exhausted unemployment benefits within the past 48 months
  • Displaced Homemaker (recently separated or divorced) within the past 24 months
  • Self-employed and now unemployed within the past 24 months
  • Discharged veteran within the past 48 months
  • Active Duty Military with an official order of separation dated within 6 months of start of quarter.
  • Stop-Gap employment (temporary work accepted only because of lay-off or termination due to no fault of your own.  Employment must be temporary in nature with the intent to end employment upon the completion of training, obtaining self-sufficient employment as specified in the individual education plan.)

What proof is needed to apply

  • Dislocated Worker/ Currently collecting Unemployment: A most recent WA state Unemployment Insurance (UI) stub showing you are currently receiving benefits, or bring a printout of the WIA001 screen (may be obtained by visiting the Employment Security Representative located in the career Center in Building 19, Room 109) from WA State Employment Security Department showing your payment history (48 months).
  • Displaced Homeworker: A copy of your divorce degree, legal separation agreement, death certificate, a printout of primary wage earners WIA001 screen from the Employment Security Department and/ or statement of current circumstance (notarized) for the past 24 months. If underemployed and experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment attach proof of current income ( 3 most recent pay stubs).
  • Discharged Veteran: A copy of your DD214 (or NGB-22 for National Guard members) showing separation date from the armed services within the last 48 months.
  • Active Duty Military:  Documentation in the form of an official separation order.  The document must identify the individual and the date of separation from the military. Separation must be within 6 months of the start of quarter. Dishonorable discharge status is not eligible under this category.
  • Self-Employed: Documentation reflecting self-employment within the past 24 months. Bring in a copy of your most recent income tax return with required forms/schedules demonstrating self-employment activities. Also, attach a statement and/ or other documents that support your unemployment is a result of general economic conditions in the community in which you reside or is a result of a natural disaster.
  • Stop Gap Employment: UI eligibility: proof of UI; Monetary determination: Indicates that Stop Gap job wages are 50% or less than the wages of lay off position, and labor market information that indicates the Stop Gap Job will not lead to self-sufficiency.

Eligible WRT participants may receive the following support:

  • Tuition, books, transportation, childcare, and training completion assistance
  • Dedicated Workforce Counselor
  • Support services may be provided

Worker Retraining and unemployment benefits

Participants may be eligible for Commissioner Approved Training (CAT) and/or Training Benefits (TB) by submitting paperwork to the Employment Security Department. Eligibility for both will be determined by the Employment Security Department. For further assistance and information, please contact the Workforce Development office at 253-589-5583, the Career & Community Services office at 253-589-5575, or the Employment Security Department office located at 2121 S. State Tacoma, WA 98405 or via phone at 253-593-7300.

CAT: If approved, participants are allowed to attend school full-time (12 credits) and have their job search waived. It does not extend unemployment benefits.

TB: If approved, it would allow a participant to receive additional unemployment benefits after exhausting their regular unemployment claim. To be considered for Training Benefits, one must submit an application within 90 days of filing your unemployment benefit’s claim. You are also required to enroll in school within 120 days.

Training programs that are eligible in the Worker Retraining:

  • Any of CPTC’s High Wage/High Demand professional/technical programs
  • Programs funded by Worker Retraining
  • Bachelor degrees will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis 
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress according to CPTC’s financial aid policies. (Students must not be in financial aid suspension or in student loan default.)

Washington Connection

Washington Connection is a website providing information and resources for people that may qualify for benefits and services; such as food, cash, medical, childcare, long-term care, and healthcare.  From this website, you can see if you qualify and apply for multiple benefits using their online application. If in case you do not qualify, Washington Connection does offer further information for additional services through community partners and resources.

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