DOL announces new job-driven grants.

April 24, 2014

The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the availability of $150 million for Job-Driven National Emergency Grants (JD NEG). These grants will be available to states to implement or expand local and regional job-driven partnerships that provide dislocated workers opportunities to participate in work-based training, occupational training that results in an industry-recognized credential, or other reemployment services. Applications are due May 27, 2014. 

The Training and Employment Notice (TEN) released April 28 limits eligibility to states, though states must apply in partnership with local workforce investment boards (WIBs) whose areas include employers in the industry sectors targeted in the state’s application. Grants will range from $500,000 to $6 million. 

Applicants must address the industries targeted and how the states will utilize existing employer partnerships or build new partnerships; how participants will be reached; what types of work-based training models will be used; and how services provided will be aligned with other federal, state or local programs. DOL is particularly interested in promoting work-based training models and, as such, requires that no less than 30 percent of funds awarded may be used to support work-based training. 

The parameters of the JD NEG solicitation are quite broad and could potentially support a range of sector-based activities in the states, including activities that have been curtailed as the governor’s set-aside has been reduced in recent appropriations bills. Programs must be targeted to dislocated workers, with particular focus on the long-term unemployed and individuals who are in danger of exhausting their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, but there are otherwise few limitations on who can be served. 

This announcement is part of a larger effort by the Administration to increase opportunities for workers to access training that is “job-driven” and leads to employment. Earlier this year, the President issued a memorandum directing the Vice President to conduct a government-wide review of federal job training programs. Though the review is due to be released this summer, the Administration has already begun building out innovative strategies using best practices from the field. 

The Administration has embraced sector partnerships as one of those best practices and in recent months has embedded sector strategies into a number of new grant programs. Since the Presidential Memorandum was released in late January, the Administration has announced: 

  • $150 million for new Ready to Work (RtW) grants, which will support industry-led partnerships to prepare and place the long-term unemployed into employment in good-paying jobs;
  • $450 million for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants, which provide education and training to workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade, and will for the first time focus on employer engagement through industry partnerships;
  • $107 million in Youth CareerConnect grants awarded, which will support partnerships between high schools, industry, institutions of higher education and the public workforce system to help build the talent pipeline; 
  • $100 million for new American Apprenticeship grants (available this fall), which will facilitate partnerships to launch apprenticeship models in new high-growth fields, align apprenticeships to pathways, and scale up successful apprenticeship models; and 
  • A new Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium, which will help graduates of registered apprenticeship programs receive college credit for their apprenticeship training. 

Taken together, the Administration has dedicated nearly $1 billion to job-driven education and training efforts that incorporate a partnership model. National Skills Coalition applauds the Administration for recognizing sector strategies as one of the most effective tactics for aligning the skills of workers with the needs of business and industry.