The WORC Initiative is designed to facilitate the alignment of workforce development efforts with existing economic development strategies in rural communities hard hit by economic transition and recovering slowly. The WORC Initiative provides grant funds to enable impacted communities to develop local and regional workforce development solutions aligned with existing economic development strategies and community partnerships to promote new, sustainable job opportunities and long-term economic vitality. These grants support workforce development activities that prepare dislocated workers, new entrants to the workforce, and incumbent workers for good jobs in high-demand occupations aligned with a regional or community economic development strategy.

The goal of these projects is to improve access to good jobs, as well as help communities and workers plan for, and recover from, economic transitions, by:

  • Implementing innovative approaches to address the economic and workforce-related impacts within each of the regions;
  • Providing enhanced training and support activities to eligible individuals;
  • Supporting workforce development activities that prepare eligible participants for good jobs in high-demand occupations aligned with a state, regional, or community economic development strategy; and
  • In the Appalachian region, helping to address the impacts of the opioid crisis.

Successful applicants proposed a wide range of activities to meet the goals of the WORC Initiative, including:

  • Developing training and work-based learning opportunities;
  • Providing incentives for participation and completion of grant-funded activities;
  • Purchasing or leasing equipment and facilities to establish or improve training centers and increase opportunities; and,
  • Working with local businesses to retain or hire new workers, including through on-the-job training, incumbent worker training, and other approaches.

Click to view grantees from WORC Rounds 1-3 below:

Grantee Materials

About the Appalachian and Delta Regions

  • The Appalachian region consists of 420 counties across 13 states
  • The Delta region consists of 252 counties and parishes across 8 states

Grant Information Announcements