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US Department of Labor awards $34.4M in grants to improve access to good jobs, training in Appalachian Region, Lower Mississippi Delta

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today – in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority – awards totaling $34,375,000, to provide education, training and supportive services in regions that have suffered significant job losses in the energy extraction industry.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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.

The WORC Initiative helps rural communities address historic inequities and to produce 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.

Lists of Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grant recipients follows this release.

Grants are being awarded to recipients in the Appalachian Regional Commission area as follows:

Recipient

State

Amount

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

BridgeValley 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 as follows:

Recipient

State

Amount

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