Wisconsin Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

For a list of Wisconsin economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.



Brownfield Grant: Grants to local governments, businesses, non-profits and individuals for developing commercial and industrial sites that have been adversely affected by environmental contamination.

Brownfield Site Assessment Grant: Grant funds to approved projects to assist local governments with conducting initial environmental assessment and demolition activities on an eligible abandoned, idle or underutilized industrial or commercial site.

Business Development Loan: The program is intended to provide gap financing to existing businesses seeking to expand, increase operational efficiency, or enhance competitiveness in key Wisconsin industries.

Capacity Building Grant: Grants to assist local and regional economic development groups to foster an advanced economic development network within Wisconsin, and to deliver resources and services to Wisconsin entrepreneurs through the competitive Entrepreneurship Support Grant.

Capital Catalyst Grant: Matching grants to seed funds managed by local communities and other eligible entities to provide capital to high-growth startups and emerging growth companies.

Community Development Investment Grant: Financial support for shovel-ready projects with particular emphasis on downtown community driven efforts that deliver significant, measurable benefits in job opportunities, property values, and/or leveraged investment by local and private partners.

Disaster Recovery Microloan: The program will provide grants to pre-approved regional entities with the capacity to deploy rapid response microloans to businesses affected by disasters, either natural or manmade. The microloans are to assist the business with necessary restoration and operating expenses until more long-term recovery funding can be secured.

Entrepreneurial Micro-Grant: Provides early-stage technology-based companies with services and funding to support their efforts in obtaining significant federal grant funding.

Fabrication Laboratories Grant: The program is designed to support hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education by assisting public school districts with equipment purchases used for instructional and educational purposes in fabrication laboratories in Wisconsin schools.

Global Business Development Grant: Grant funding to support the growth and expansion of exports by Wisconsin companies.

Idle Sites Redevelopment Grant: Provides incentives to help rejuvenate abandoned blighted sites and assistance in elevating local economies.  Approved projects can use funds for demolition, environmental remediation, infrastructure or site-specific improvements to advance the site to shovel-ready status or enhance the site’s market attractiveness.

Industrial Revenue Bonds: A unique type of revenue bond organized and issued by a state or local government, the proceeds of which are directed to a private, for-profit business. The program is designed to incent expansions of manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin.

Minority Business Development Grant: The program is designed to support minority, women and veteran business development through direct assistance to nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin.

SBIR/STTR Matching Grant: Provides funds to technology-based businesses in or relocating to Wisconsin by matching a portion of Phase I and/or Phase ll awards under the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provided through periodic competitions.

Seed Accelerator Grant: Provides grants to eligible communities and other organizations to support a pre-seed business model program that incorporates training, mentoring and financial assistance to entrepreneurs in their area. Grant funds may be used as seed capital for companies in the accelerator, as well as for costs associated with initiating the accelerator program.

Targeted Industry Projects Grant: Provides grants to advance targeted, high-growth business consortia and industry clusters critical to Wisconsin’s economy.

Technology Development Loan: Flexible lending program designed to assist high-tech startup and emerging growth companies in financing the development and launch of innovative products and services.

Workforce Training Grant: The program aids businesses in attracting, developing and retaining talent as a part of a business development project. The program provides grant funds to businesses to upgrade or improve the job-related skills of its employees.



Business Development Tax Credit: Provides refundable income tax credits that can be earned based on jobs, capital investment, training and the location or retention of corporate headquarters.

Capital Gains Investment Incentives: Individuals may exclude from their taxable income the amount of capital gain derived from their sale of a qualified Wisconsin business.  Funds invested in qualified Wisconsin businesses must have been held for five years. Capital gains on the sale of other investments which are reinvested in qualified Wisconsin businesses are deferred so that they are not taxed at the time they are invested in the Wisconsin businesses.

Development Opportunity Zones: Non-refundable tax credits for new and expanding businesses in the cities of Beloit, Janesville and Kenosha to assist with capital investment, and the creation and retention of new, full-time jobs.

Enterprise Zone Tax Credit: Refundable tax credits for new and expanding businesses that can be earned based on job creation, job retention, training, investment and Wisconsin supply chain expenditures.

Historic Preservation Tax Credit: Provides transferable income tax credits of 20% to eligible entities rehabilitating certified historic buildings.

Housing Tax Credits: The Housing Tax Credit, or HTC, is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal income taxes owed by owners/investors in qualified projects for tenants whose incomes are at or below 60% of County Median Income (CMI). WHEDA administers the IRS federal Housing Tax Credit Program for Wisconsin. Applicants must meet mandatory threshold requirements for financing, market, site control, and zoning.

Manufacturing & Agriculture Credit: A credit is available for individuals and business entities that have manufacturing and agricultural activities in Wisconsin. The credit is a percentage of “eligible qualified production activities income.” The credit is 7.5% of eligible qualified production activities income.

For individuals, the credit is limited to the amount of income tax paid on the income from which the credit is based. For a corporation, eligible qualified production activities income is the lesser of:

  • eligible qualified production activities income,
  • income apportioned to Wisconsin, or
  • income taxable to Wisconsin as determined by combined reporting law, if the corporation is a member of a Wisconsin combined group

New Markets Tax Credit: The federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program serves as a resource to help fuel job creation and economic development efforts by promoting equity investment in low-income urban and rural communities. Through its Community Development Entity, WHEDA awards NMTCs to enhance financing for projects in highly distressed areas throughout Wisconsin that have demonstrable community impact.

Opportunity Zones: Wisconsin’s 120 EOZ census tract designations are the maximum allowed under the federal program and represent 44 counties, 60 municipalities and two tribal reservations.  They span from the northern communities of Superior, Ashland and Eagle River to the southwestern cities of Hillsboro, Prairie du Chien and Platteville to the southeastern corridor including Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.

Property Tax Exemptions: Machinery and equipment used in manufacturing is exempt from personal property taxes. Manufacturer and merchant inventories are exempt from personal property taxes. Certain waste treatment facilities owned by utilities, manufacturers, and commercial businesses used for the treatment of industrial waste materials are exempt from general property taxes.

Qualified New Business Venture (QNBV) Program: Helps drive investment to innovate early-stage Wisconsin companies by allowing investors to claim a 25% tax credit on the amount they invest into a QNBV-certified business.

Research and Development Tax Credit: An R&D credit is available to corporations, sole proprietorships and pass-through entities equal to 5.75% (11.5% in some cases) of the excess of qualified research expenses for the current year over a base amount.

Sales Tax Exemptions: Wisconsin sales tax does not have to be paid on the following:

  • Machinery and equipment used by a manufacturer in producing tangible personal property.
  • Tangible personal property that becomes an ingredient or component of another product in the manufacturing process.
  • Tangible personal property that is consumed or loses its identity in the process of manufacturing tangible personal property.
  • Machinery, equipment and tangible personal property used in research by companies that are engaged in manufacturing or biotechnology.
  • Fuel and electricity used in manufacturing.



Job Centers: Conveniently located across the state, Wisconsin’s Job Centers offer a variety of job seeker and employer services. Many employers find talent to fill current job openings by connecting with thousands of job seekers who visit Job Centers daily. Job Seekers receive help on career development, job seeking and may receive services through the partner agencies co-located at the Job Centers.

Job Center of Wisconsin: JobCenterofWisconsin.com is Wisconsin’s online public labor exchange that connects employers and job seekers at no cost 24 hours a day. Logon to access advanced skills matching features and integrated labor market information to make informed employment decisions now.

Labor Market Information: The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is home to the most current and robust Wisconsin labor market and economic data available to the public and partners for making data-driven employment decisions. DWD’s Office of Economic Advisors analyzes data gathered by Wisconsin businesses to make labor market data and economic trends available online.

Office of Veterans Services: Veterans and their families receive priority of service at all Wisconsin Job Centers, including comprehensive pre-employment and job placement services. DWD staff also works with veterans and employers to identify and explain transferable skills between military and civilian occupations.

Youth Apprenticeship: DWD’s Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program integrates school-based and work-based learning, providing students with instruction in employability and occupational skills as defined by Wisconsin industries. Employ YA students to help develop your local workforce and create a recruitment pipeline that is loyal to your business and community.

Registered Apprenticeship: Wisconsin’s nationally recognized Registered Apprenticeship (RA) program provides a value-added training model with broad industry engagement for as many as 11,000 apprentices and 2,500 employers annually. RA enables employers to build a customized skills training system, immersing trainees in company culture while helping them earn good-paying, family-supporting wages as they learn a high demand trade.

Vocational Rehabilitation: Vocation Rehabilitation helps people with disabilities obtain, maintain and improve employment by working with employers and other partners.

Wisconsin Fast Forward: Made possible by the State of Wisconsin’s $30 million investment in the worker grant training programs, Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) is a nationally recognized, innovative talent development solution driven by Wisconsin businesses to train and retain highly skilled workers. Over $24 million in WFF grant contracts has been issued to date, supporting nearly 260 worker training projects that are benefiting hundreds of employers and thousands of workers across Wisconsin.