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- Skills Mismatch
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) released the Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA) for “Ready to Work Partnership” grants for industry-led workforce partnerships to prepare and place the long-term unemployed into good-paying jobs. President Obama announced the $150 million grant program last month at a White House eventthat brought together national corporations, small- and medium-sized employers, training providers and workforce boards—including employers from Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU) and members of National Skills Coalition’s (NSC) Leadership Council—to discuss strategies to help the long-term unemployed get back to work.
The grants are designed to support and scale partnerships between multiple employers within an industry, labor-management partnerships, workforce boards, community colleges, and community-based organizations that provide integrated training and rapid reemployment services that include paid work experience (i.e. on-the-job-training, apprenticeships, or paid internships) designed to help the long-term unemployed reenter the labor market. Training must target in-demand middle- and high-skill industries and occupations where employers currently use foreign workers on H-1B visas.
USDOL expects to award 20 to 30 grants ranging from $3 million to $10 million to programs that focus on employer engagement, individualized counseling, job placement assistance, and work-based training that facilitates hiring for jobs.
In order for programs to qualify, they must involve at least three employers or a regional industry association consisting of at least three employers who are actively engaged in the program. Applications will be received through June 19, 2014. For more information about the “Ready to Work Partnership” grants, visit http://www.doleta.gov/readytowork.
NSC has long advocated for industry-led collaborations between the workforce system, community colleges and other education and training providers, labor-management partnerships, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to align employment and training services with the jobs that local employers need to fill. These employer-led sector partnerships work because they train local workers with the skills needed not just by one company, but by multiple companies within an industry.
NSC applauds President Obama for recognizing the potential of such industry-led workforce partnerships as part of his strategy to help the long-term unemployed and will continue working with the administration and Congress to provide the resources necessary to grow these partnerships to scale.