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CONGRESSIONAL & INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
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Congressional Notifications

January 12, 2009

Dear Congressional Staff:

Tomorrow, Secretary Solis will announce the Pathways Out of Poverty grant awards authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Pathways out of Poverty grants total $147 million of the $500 million in Green Jobs training grant funding made available by the Recovery Act.

Below is a list of the Pathways out of Poverty grant awards being announced in your state and attached are one-page fact sheets about the grants. Background information about the purpose of Pathways out of Poverty grants is also below.

There is one additional Green Jobs grant competition that has closed (State Energy Sector Partnership grants). Announcements on these grants are expected in the near future.

Below is a quote from Secretary Solis you can use if your office decides to do press:

  • "These ‘Pathways Out of Poverty' grants will help workers in disadvantaged communities gain access to the good, safe and prosperous jobs of the 21st Century green economy," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Green jobs present tremendous opportunities for people who have the core skills and competencies needed in such well-paying and rapidly growing industries as energy efficiency and renewable energy."

Please contact the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs if you have any questions about this information. Laura MacDonald (macdonald.laura@dol.gov), Adri Jayaratne (Jayaratne.adri@dol.gov) and Aaron Ver (ver.aaron@dol.gov) are available to answer any questions you may have about the grants and can be reached at 202-693-4600.

Background on Recovery Act Pathways out of Poverty Grants:
For individuals who are living below or near the poverty line the current economic downturn has created a unique set of challenges and has heightened the need to find pathways out of poverty and into employment. These individuals may lack basic literacy and job readiness skills and they may face other barriers to employment, such as the need for childcare or transportation.

To assist individuals in meeting these challenges, the Department of Labor is investing in Pathways Out of Poverty grants, which will integrate training and supportive services into cohesive programs that will help targeted populations find pathways out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency through employment in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Despite the economic downturn, these green industries present many potential opportunities for individuals to learn new skills and competencies, gain employment and advance along career pathways.

In order to most effectively serve the specific populations targeted by these grants, the Department of Labor encouraged applicants to focus project efforts in communities located within one or more contiguous Public Micro Data Areas (PUMAs) where poverty rates were 15% or higher. PUMAs are geographic areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

These investments will prepare participants for employment within energy efficiency and renewable energy industries and are designed to:

  • Include sound recruitment and referral strategies for targeted populations;
  • Integrate basic skills and work-readiness training with occupational skills training, as necessary;
  • Combine supportive services with training services to help participants overcome barriers to employment, as necessary, and;
  • Provide training services at times and locations that are easily accessible to targeted populations.

Thirty-eight awards ranging from approximately $1 million to $8 million each were made to two categories of grantees: (1) National non-profit organizations with networks of local affiliates; and (2) local public organizations or private non-profit organizations. In both categories, projects will be implemented at the community level by partnerships that include non-profit organizations, the public workforce system, the education and training community, employers and industry-related organizations, and labor organizations.