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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $29.2 Million Funding Opportunity For the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), today announced the availability of approximately $29.2 million in a second round of grant funding for the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative. 

“As we confront the economic challenges created by coronavirus, we must remain focused on equipping all Americans, including those living in rural America, with the skills they need to gain good paying jobs as our economy rebounds,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said. “The funding announcement today empowers rural communities to strategically invest in the local workforce and to create opportunities for individuals and families to better their lives.”

Under this FOA, the department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) will award these grants to applicants that demonstrate innovative and sustainable strategies to provide needed career, training and support services to eligible individuals to assist in meeting workforce challenges and industry needs currently underserved by other resources in the Appalachian and Delta regions.  

Authorized by 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. 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;
  • Historically black colleges and universities.

ARC and DRA will provide technical assistance to prospective applicants in their respective regions, as well as provide assistance and support to grantees across the life of the initiative. Potential applicants are encouraged to visit or for more information, including dates and locations for pre-application technical assistance meetings.

Learn more about grant eligibility and how to apply.

ETA administers federal job training and dislocated worker programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. These services are primarily provided through state and local workforce development systems.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.


Employment and Training Administration
April 30, 2020
Release Number
Media Contact: Grant Vaught
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