Expanded Eligibility for Workers Impacted by COVID-19
Worker Retraining eligibility has been temporarily expanded due to COVID-19 related changes with Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Worker Retraining expanded eligibility and general eligibility criteria are listed below. More information on Worker Retraining Expanded Eligibility is available here.
The Worker Retraining program provides tuition, fees, required textbooks and sometimes transportation for laid-off and dislocated workers who need training to return to the workforce. To qualify for the Worker Retraining program, you must enroll in an eligible training program and meet one of the eligibility criteria.
Do I qualify for Worker Retraining?
General eligibility criteria:
- You are receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits
- You received a lay-off notice and will be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits
- You have exhausted your Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits within the past 48 months and are still unemployed or underemployed
- You have closed down your business within the last 24 months due to economic conditions and are currently unemployed
- You are a displaced homemaker with low-income due to an event that occurred within the past 48 months; eligible events include divorce, separation or death of your spouse/partner
- You have separated from the U.S. Armed Services within the past 48 months
- You are an active duty military member and have received a separation order
Expanded eligibility criteria:
- Your work hours were reduced due to COVID-19
- You were laid off from a part-time position
- You are experiencing reduced income from a gig-economy job (example: driving for Uber/Lyft or caring for pets through Rover)
- You were quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19, even if your place of employment remained open
Check your Worker Retraining funding eligibility by taking the Start Next Quarter Survey. If you prequalify for funding you will receive a message inviting you to complete the Workforce Education Funding Application.
The Worker Retraining program can pay for tuition, fees, and required books. Specific funding information is provided on a quarterly basis to all students enrolled in the Worker Retraining program.
Yes. Worker Retraining may be able to assist with any funding gaps. For example, financial aid may have awarded you enough money to pay for tuition but not enough to cover textbooks and a bus pass. Worker Retraining may then be able to help pay for your required textbooks and transportation – therefore filling that funding gap.
Receiving UI benefits is one way to qualify for Worker Retraining funding. You can continue to receive your UI benefits while in school if you are fulfilling your weekly job search activities as required b Employment Security Department (ESD). If you would like to waive your job search requirement and receive UI benefits while in school, then you will need to apply and be approved for Commissioner Approved Training (CAT). If you would like to receive an extension of up to 26 weeks of additional UI benefits while in school, then you will need to apply and be approved for Training Benefits (TB). Additional information will be provided to you upon enrollment into the Worker Retraining program.
Commissioner Approved Training (CAT) and Training Benefits (TB) is a program through the Employment Security Department. You can find more information on CAT and TB. If you would like to contact someone in the Workforce Education office, contact Jackie Perry at JPerry@esd.wa.gov or (360) 801-4347. The Worker Retraining program can pay for tuition, fees, and required books. Specific funding information is provided on a quarterly basis to all students enrolled in the Worker Retraining program.