In late 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced – in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority – awards totaling $34,375,000.
The funding will provide education, training and supportive services in regions that have suffered significant job losses in the energy extraction industry; primarily coal.
“The Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative provides grants to engage local communities and help build pathways for workers to good-paying jobs,” explained Acting Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Brent Parton.
“The awards we’re announcing today reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensure the benefits of its investments in climate, clean energy, training and workforce development reach and serve disadvantaged communities,” he added.
The WORC Initiative helps rural communities revitalize by addressing historic inequities and by producing good, quality jobs for dislocated and other workers in rural communities in the Appalachian and Delta regions.
The grants also help communities diversify their local economies by developing a skilled workforce and providing equitable access to underserved and underrepresented communities.
“When we prioritize education, training and career support for rural Appalachians, we help our people and our entire region thrive, and eventually compete, with the rest of the nation,” said Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin.
“The latest round of Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grants will continue giving workers in distressed communities the resources they need to enhance 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,” she continued.
Grants are being awarded to recipients in the Appalachian Regional Commission area:
- Hazard Community and Technical College, KY, $1,441,292
- Kentucky Dataseam Initiative Inc., KY, $1,441,292
- University of Maryland, College Park, MD, $985,419
- Land of Sky Regional Council, NC, $1,441,125
- Rural Action Inc., OH, $1,421,763
- University of Pittsburgh, PA, $1,119,908
- Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Development Board, PA, $938,962
- Northeast State Community College, TN, $1,258,623
- New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Area Consortium, VA, $1,441,292
- Southwest Virginia Community College, VA, $1,378,568
- Bridge Valley Community and Technical College, WV, $1,441,280
- Randolph County Housing Authority, WV, $1,440,438
Grants are being awarded to recipients in the Delta Regional Authority area:
- Alabama Department of Commerce, AL, $1,384,792
- Arkansas Center for Data Sciences, AR, $1,390,214
- South Arkansas Community College, AR, $835,499
- Strada Collaborative Inc., IN, $1,394,534
- Workforce Development Board SDA-83 Inc., LA, $1,394,535
- New Orleans Career Center, LA, $1,283,998
- NextOp Inc., LA, $1,143,215
- Dream Innovations Inc., MS, $1,394,535
- Mississippi Community College Board, MS, $1,394,535
- Delta Health Alliance Inc., MS, $1,394,196
- Ozark Action Inc., MO, $1,394,535
- Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences, MO, $1,394,535
“Investments in workforce development is a key tool for economic growth in rural communities,” added Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins.
“Our continued partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor allows us to meet local industry demands head-on by developing a skilled workforce while also establish a talent pool that will attract new businesses to the region,” he concluded.
In keeping with Executive Order 14008, signed by President Biden, the WORC Initiative aligns with the Justice40 initiative, a whole-of-government approach to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to communities historically marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.
Photo via Pixabay.