On April 30, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), announced the availability of approximately $29.2 million in a second round of grant funding for the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative.
Authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, WORC Initiative grants take a long-term view towards assisting eligible communities in diversifying their economies and expanding and diversifying partnerships by investing in local strategies developed by regional partners. Within the U.S. Department of Labor, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) will award those applicants that align and integrate workforce development activities with existing state, regional, or community development strategies. Ranging from $150,000 to $1.5 million, the grants also help serve those receiving employment and training services from organizations in regions affected by the opioid crisis.
Those eligible for WORC grants include state, county, city, township, or special district governments; state or local workforce development boards; regional organizations; independent school districts; public, state-controlled, or private institutions of higher education; Indian/Native American tribal governments (federally and other than federally-recognized); Indian/Native American tribally designated organizations; public or Indian housing organizations; non-profit organizations; Hispanic-serving institutions; tribally-controlled colleges and universities; and historically black colleges and universities.
ARC and DRA will provide technical assistance to prospective applicants in their respective regions, as well as assistance and support to grantees across the duration of the initiative. Potential applicants are encouraged to visit www.arc.gov or www.dra.gov for more information, including dates and locations for pre-application technical assistance meetings.
Click here to learn more about the WORC Initiative grant eligibility and how to apply.
For additional NACo resources on workforce development programs, please see the following resources:
- NACo Policy Brief: Support Workforce and Local Business Development: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
- NACo Report: Counties and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act