Department of Labor awards $35 million in Workforce Innovation Fund grants

By Katie Spiker, September 29, 2015

Yesterday, the Department of Labor (DOL) awarded more than $35 million to five states and one Inter-Tribal Council in the latest round of Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grants. The WIF grants are intended to improve recipients’ implementation and delivery of training and employment strategies. This third round of WIF grants is the first since the passage and implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Consistent with WIOA’s emphasis on creating a more integrated and aligned workforce system, the WIF solicitation required collaboration across programs both within and outside of WIOA. Specifically, DOL required applicants to develop strategies that integrated at least two core programs under WIOA – Title 1 and at least one other program, such as the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and Vocational Rehabilitation programs. Applicants strategies were also required  to include at least one non-core program, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Carl D. Perkins Act, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program, state Jobs for Veterans programs, and apprenticeship programs.

The six recipients, listed below, proposed innovative approaches to connect job seekers with the employers hiring in their region, with applications that emphasized establishing and expanding career pathways and sector partnerships and aligning data collection and usage across workforce and education agencies. Each recipient will receive around $6 million to implement and evaluate their proposed innovative practices.

  1. Connecticut Department of Labor
  2. Inter-Tribal Council of Louisiana, Inc.
  3. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
  4. Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry
  5. Kansas Department of Commerce
  6. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

National Skills Coalition strongly supports efforts to enhance coordination and alignment across a broad range of human capital programs and services. NSC recently launched a webinar series, Aligned by Design, which explores how states can use the WIOA planning process to align key human capital investments to produce better outcomes for individuals and local economies. The webinars focus on the interaction between WIOA and Perkins Career and Technical Education, Title II Adult Education, TANF, and SNAP E&T.