Look to these places first to build your WOTC workforce

One of the most common questions we hear after explaining the big tax benefits available through the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is “Where can I find employees who qualify for WOTC?” 

This question is particularly relevant for staffing firms, or other companies who hire in high volumes. 

Our answer to this question always points out that over 20% of Americans qualify for WOTC. And in some industries, such as restaurants, up to 35% of applicants qualify. These facts generally surprise people, because they do not realize how expansive the nine WOTC targeted groups truly are. 

Two examples of this include:

  • Qualified SNAP Benefits Recipient: To qualify for this targeted group, an employee does not necessarily need to receive SNAP benefits themself; they need only belong to a household that received SNAP within the designated eligibility window.
  • Designated Community Resident: To qualify for this often-overlooked targeted group, an employee need only reside within a geographic area designated as an Empowerment Zone or Rural Renewal County. As a result, employers located near these areas should be able to easily recruit WOTC employees in high volumes.

More good news may be coming soon for WOTC employers as well. Lawmakers have recently lobbied to expand the Qualified Veterans targeted group (already one of the most-claimed groups) to also include spouses of veterans. 

Additionally, employers and/or recruiters should consider using the following strategies to find more WOTC employees. 

State workforce agencies

The WOTC is a federal program administered by state or territorial departments of labor (DoL). Because of this, your local DoL operates a state workforce agency (SWA) in order to process WOTC certification requests. Organizations with effective WOTC programs develop positive relationships with their SWA. In turn, SWAs may assist employers by providing various resources for locating WOTC-eligible workers. 

Unemployment offices 

Unemployment offices offer various resources for connecting employers with job seekers. High rates of job seekers working with unemployment offices receive various forms of government assistance which may qualify them for the WOTC.   

Veterans’ organizations

Many organizations, including Veteran Affairs (VA) and others, exist to help veterans. Some are devoted to helping veterans find and keep employment. Employers who hire qualified veterans can make a positive difference in their lives, and earn valuable tax credits via WOTC. The VA and similar organizations can be useful in connecting employers with these workers. 

Job fairs

Job fairs, particularly ones held by government agencies, can yield higher rates of WOTC employees than other recruiting strategies. This is because WOTC employees face various barriers to employment, so may conduct their job search with a broad scope of possibilities. Making in-person connections at job fairs can also lead to deeper community networks, which may attract more organic applicants to your organization. 

Disability organizations

Many organizations, including the US Department of Health & Home Services (HHS), and others, exist to help people with disabilities. Some are devoted to helping people with disabilities find and keep employment. Employers who hire individuals through the Vocational Rehabilitation Referral process may qualify for WOTC. Connecting with organizations who serve people with disabilities may assist in this process.

Fair hiring and non-discrimination

While seeking to maximize your WOTC eligibility rate, it is crucial to comply with all pertinent fair hiring and non-discrimination legislation. For this reason, you should always consult with tax professionals while strategizing to recruit WOTC employees. 

Arvo Tech specializes in maximizing WOTC profits for our clients. Our team of tax professionals has helped hundreds of businesses claim over $650M through employment tax credits programs, including WOTC, since 2014. Contact us today.