WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority, today announced the award of $29,175,000 in grants to 23 organizations to provide employment and training services to regional and local workforces.
Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the third round of Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative grants – ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million – will fund projects to invest in education, training and career support services in the Appalachian and Delta regions. Recipients will provide services to dislocated workers; new entrants to the workforce, including students or the long-term unemployed; incumbent workers looking to improve their career prospects; and individuals affected by substance use.
“These Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative grants demonstrate the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting the long-term economic stability and opportunities for workers in rural communities, especially those connected to the energy industry, across the Appalachian and Lower Mississippi Delta regions,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration Angela Hanks. “These investments alongside our federal partners link economic and workforce development to support equity, quality jobs and economic prosperity for residents in these regions in this recovery and beyond.”
“It is imperative to prioritize education, training, and career support for rural Appalachians in order to bring the region to parity with the rest of the country,” said Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Gayle Conelly Manchin. “The latest round of Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grants will help give workers in distressed communities the resources they need to increase their career opportunities. In doing so, this will reignite Appalachian economies and create results that will reverberate throughout the whole region for years to come.”
“The WORC initiative continues to impact economic growth in Delta communities by providing the necessary resources to create a more prosperous future,” said Delta Regional Authority Interim Chief of Staff Kemp Morgan. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s investment will enable 12 innovative training programs throughout the region to prepare hundreds of Delta residents for high quality careers in high-demand industries such as aerospace and defense manufacturing, agricultural technology and renewable energy.”
Authorized by the Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act, WORC grants allow recipients to help their communities diversify their local economies by developing a skilled workforce and providing equitable access to marginalized communities. WORC grants also aim to address the impacts of economic transition on communities previously reliant on energy-related employment.
The department awarded WORC grants totaling nearly $58.4 million in Sept. 2019 and Sept. 2020
The ARC and DRA grant recipients are as follows:
Appalachian Regional Commission Recipients
Northeast Kentucky Regional Health Information Organization
Volunteers of America Mid-States Inc.
Research Foundation of SUNY
Haywood Community College
McDowell Technical Community College
Corporation For Ohio Appalachian Development
Ohio Valley Employment Resource
Pennsylvania State University-University Park
Roane State Community College
Marshall University Research Corp.
Delta Regional Authority Recipients
West Alabama Chamber Foundation Inc.
Advocates for Community and Rural Education
Arkansas Rural Health Partnership
Southern Arkansas University Tech
University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
Save the Children Federation Inc.
Kentucky Community and Technical College System
Madisonville Community College
Herzing University LTD
Institute for Indian Development
Louisiana State University at Eunice
River Parishes Community College
Southeastern Louisiana University
Funding for this recipient will benefit residents in several Delta Regional Authority counties.