WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of up to $150 million in funding through a new Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program to train workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own for jobs in high-demand industries.
These investments will help create or expand employer partnerships that provide opportunities for on-the-job training, Registered Apprenticeships or other occupational training that results in an industry-recognized credential. Funding will also be used to provide services, such as coaching, counseling and direct job placement, that help connect laid-off workers, including the long-term unemployed, with available jobs. Focusing funding on proven, job-driven training strategies is a key component of the Obama administration's agenda to connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.
"Helping workers acquire the skills that employers say they need is a key way the Labor Department fulfills the president's vision of opportunity for all," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "These grants will provide states with critical funding to implement and expand proven strategies so that workers can secure a foothold in the middle class and businesses can grow."
In addition to expanding work-based learning strategies — which recent studies show increase employment and earnings outcomes — grantees will also develop strong partnerships between workforce and industry organizations and align services with other federal, state or local programs, such as Unemployment Insurance, Workforce Investment Act, and Trade Adjustment Assistance programs. Funds may also be used to implement innovative approaches, such as:
- job coaching, navigation and job-matching models that help dislocated workers, particularly the long-term unemployed, receive the specialized services they need to rapidly re-enter the workforce;
- using technology and social media to recruit participants, improve job search tools, provide distance learning opportunities, and effectively collect and disseminate labor market information;
- specialized services for laid-off workers, such as financial counseling and one-on-one coaching; and
- developing employer outcome measures to track employer satisfaction and success.
Up to $150 million in grants ranging from $500,000 to $6 million are being made available to states, territories and federally-recognized tribes through the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker National Reserve fund. Applications must be received by May 27 to be considered.
The department also announced the launch of a new initiative called "Find Your Path" to help raise awareness of the many ways that federally-funded job training programs help connect millions of Americans with companies looking to hire and grow. The initiative will connect the public to accessible job training resources and use stories of people like Gary Locke of Manchester, N.H., to show how these resources are changing lives all around the country.
After getting laid off from a local video production company and sending out more than 180 resumes, Locke remained unemployed for more than a year. He worked with the local American Job Center to enroll in an on-the-job training program where he was matched up with a web development company looking to grow. The company was able to use federal training funds to offset some of the cost of Locke's wages, while also helping him gain the information technology software skills he needed for the new position. At the conclusion of the program, Locke was offered and accepted a full-time unsubsidized position.
Locke found a path to a new job and his employer found a path to faster growth. Learn how local job-driven training is helping millions more Americans and find your own path by visiting www.dol.gov/findyourpath/.