Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The credit is available through 2025 and Congress can expand the credit as needed. Bipartisan legislation to include military spouses as a target group has been introduced in the Senate.

Employers that hire from these groups have additional tools at their disposal as well. One example is the Federal Bonding Program that provides $5,000 worth of fidelity bond coverage for the first six months of employment of formerly incarcerated or justice-involved individuals.

The WOTC is a federal tax incentive, but each state has a coordinator that assists with the credit. In Washington state, the Employment Security Department (ESD) has additional information and resources for applicants.

Generally, the following groups are eligible for the WOTC:

  • Public assistance recipients that meet SNAP (food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, (TANF) or long-term TANF requirements
  • Military veterans
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals hired within a year after their date of conviction, work release or release from prison or jail
  • People with disabilities participating in state or federal vocational-rehabilitation programs who had an “individual written plan” for employment in the last two years
  • Anyone who received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for any month in the last 60 days
  • Long-term unemployed individuals hired on or after Jan. 1, 2016 (must have been unemployed at least 27 consecutive weeks)

Employers or their representatives must submit applications within 28 days of the job start date. You can apply for the credits online and will need your SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account. You will also need a WOTC account, which can be created by navigating from eServices to the WOTC sign-in page and selecting “new employer” or “new representative.” The ESD has additional information on how to apply and you can see the U.S. Department of Labor fact sheet here.

Growth Opportunities Grant Program

The Growth Opportunities Grant Program is intended to prepare justice-involved youth and young adults for paid work. In addition to paid work experience, the program includes occupational education and training in in-demand industries, leadership development, mentorship and post-work experience placement. The grants focus on youth and young adults most impacted by community violence, particularly in areas of concentrated crime and poverty, as well as communities that have recently experienced significant unrest.

This new program will award grants to non-profits, state governments and tribes that will distribute the funds. You can read the Department of Labor’s list of current funding opportunities here and read the full parameters of the grant funding here.


To stay in the know about additional relief, grants and tax credits be sure to check back on our regularly-updated financial relief toolkit.