Department of Labor releases $100 million for America’s Promise Grants

By Katie Spiker, June 09, 2016

On June 6, 2016 the Department of Labor released $100 million in funding for “America’s Promise Job-Driven Grants,” which the Administration had announced earlier this year. The grant announcement also builds on the America’s College Promise plan announced in 2015.

The Administration anticipates awarding 20-40 4-year grants of between $1million and $6 million to regions throughout the country to train middle-skill workers in information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and financial and education service industries. The recipients of the grants will be partnerships between the workforce development system, economic development agencies, education and training providers and at least five employers. These partnerships are intended to facilitate greater employer engagement in part through a focus on work-based learning strategies, such as apprenticeship, on-the-job training programs and paid internships coupled with classroom education, facilitating the industry and sector partnerships and career pathways strategies states and local areas are required to implement under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Grantees’ work will focus on sector based career pathways, training workers for jobs that will lead to middle- and high-skill positions within the target industry. The grant application requires partnerships to focus on the following strategies:

  • Short-term or accelerated training, including integrated employment and training programs, competency-based programs, and online course work or distance learning.
  • Longer-term intensive training, particularly for participants who may need this more intensive training to achieve the skills and credentials necessary to access middle-skill career pathways.
  • Upskilling incumbent workers for advancement within their current industry.

Applicants are required to provide leverage funds for at least 25% of the project costs. The grant awards will be based on the minimum participants served, with partnerships required to serve at least 890 participants to be eligible for the largest, $5 million to $6 million, award. Applications are due by 4:00 pm EST on August 25, 2016.

Increased investments in community college and industry partnerships are an important part of National Skills Coalition’s 2016 legislative agenda, and Senator Franken (D-MN) and Representative Duckworth (D-IL) have introduced the Community College to Career Fund Act, which would support industry driven career and technical education. Read more on NSC’s 2016 agenda here.