CLARKSDALE, MS – Delta Regional Authority (DRA) awards $11.7 million in investments to 28 projects in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee through the Delta Workforce Grant Program (DWP). Funding for this program has been made in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure signed by President Biden, a key part of his Investing in America agenda.
“The Delta Workforce Grant Program makes targeted investments in initiatives and programs that support workforce employment and training needs in DRA’s region and helps create pathways to high-quality careers that allow residents to thrive and remain in their communities,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman, Dr. Corey Wiggins. “As a result of this investment, nearly 3,800 individuals are projected to receive industry-driven skills training for high-demand jobs in their communities, helping to strengthen local workforce ecosystems and economic vitality throughout the region.”
DRA made available grants ranging from $50,000 – $450,000 to address the employment and training needs of the local and regional workforce, created in collaboration with community partners and aligned with existing economic and workforce development plans and strategies. Programs funded through DWP provide workforce training and education to individuals residing in the eight-state DRA region and include at least one employer partner seeking to hire more skilled workers in a high-demand industry sector. The majority of DRA’s investments are made in communities that have been underserved, discriminated against, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. DRA remains committed to strategies to advance equity in the region.
DWP is an initiative designed to nurture local workforce ecosystems and increase economic competitiveness by providing grants to support workforce training and education programs throughout the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. The program supports projects and initiatives that create a more vibrant economic future for the Delta region by expanding opportunities to recruit, train, and retain a diverse and local workforce; aligning workforce and economic development strategies; creating sustainable talent pipelines; establishing or enhancing locally and regionally significant sector-based partnerships; and supporting enhanced workforce productivity through investments in innovative programming and services.
The 2023 DWP awardees are:
Alabama Department of Commerce has been awarded over $434,000 for the Macon County Workforce Development Initiative. The program will provide work readiness and employment training for residents in Macon County for careers in advanced manufacturing, agriculture and construction, health care, information technology, and transportation, distribution, and logistics.
Marion Military Institute (MMI) has been awarded $400,000 for the Marion Military Institute First Responder Program. The program will expand its training capability, allowing MMI Fire Cadets to acquire the national Emergency Vehicle Operator certification and earn the Fire Apparatus: Pumper certification on site.
West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center, in coordination with partners across Hale, Marengo, and Perry Counties, has been awarded $450,000 for the Longleaf Outreach Project. This innovative, community-based workforce development project aims to increase the healthcare workforce pipeline in rural Alabama.
Town of Fort Deposit, in collaboration with the cities and towns of Yellow Bluff, York Linden, and Clayton, has been awarded $450,000 to implement a comprehensive plan to increase the number of certified water and wastewater workers across these five communities.
Southern Alabama Area Health Education Center has been awarded $450,000 for the Southern Alabama Rural Training Program. The program aims to improve healthcare delivery in rural areas and address the need for trained health professionals in rural communities.
Southeast Arkansas Community Action Corporation (SEACAC) has been awarded over $229,000 for the SEACAC Certified Caregiver and Nursing Assistant Workforce Development Program. The program will provide access to certification and continuing education for healthcare workers throughout the South Arkansas Delta and prepare individuals to care for patients in diverse settings.
East Arkansas Community College, in collaboration with Southeast Arkansas College, has been awarded over $449,000 for the Arkansas Delta Trucking Academy to increase training capacity for commercial drivers.
Women’s Foundation of Arkansas has been awarded $375,000 for the Tjuana Byrd Internship Program. The program will provide Arkansas young women of color ages 18-22 opportunities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries with leading Arkansas companies.
Mentoring Mission, in partnership with the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Gaetz Aerospace Institute and John A. Logan College, has been awarded nearly $449,500 to establish an aviation maintenance pipeline through the Aviation Maintenance Technical Pipeline Focused Initiative.
Madisonville Community College has been awarded over $436,000 to expand the capacity for its electrical technology and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) degree programs.
Green River Area Development District has been awarded $450,000 for its H2O project. The project will enable water and wastewater operator apprentices in the Green River region of Western Kentucky to participate in the Kentucky Rural Water Association’s Registered Apprenticeship Program.
Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, in partnership with Southern University, ExxonMobil, and Linde plc, has been awarded $450,000 for the HBCU Decarbonization Workforce Development Program. The program aims to build a strategic Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) workforce that is focused on decarbonizing energy and industrial processes.
NOVAC has been awarded $450,000 for its Growing Film Production in Southeast Louisiana project. The project will provide training and support for job placement within the film industry through a public-private partnership with the government, employers, and labor unions in film production.
Reconcile New Orleans, Inc. has been awarded over $405,000 to provide work readiness training, career technical education and other vocational training, internships, and on-the-job training in the hospitality industry to Opportunity Youth in Orleans Parish.
New Orleans Business Alliance, in collaboration with the City of New Orleans Office of Workforce Development, YouthForce NOLA, Thrive New Orleans, Urban League of Louisiana, Delgado Community College, and the University of New Orleans, has been awarded $450,000 to expand opportunities for entry-level positions within clean infrastructure.
South Louisiana Community College has been awarded nearly $420,000 to expand its welding, maritime structural fitter, and machine tool program cohort to five campuses throughout the Acadiana region.
Mississippi Community College Board has been awarded $450,000 for its Enhanced Delta Aviation Project. The project will build upon and supplement the Delta Aviation Project efforts, in which participants train to become Aviation Maintenance Technicians, address the potential need for COVID-related distance learning, and support underserved participants in its service area.
Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC) has been awarded over $346,000 for its Navigating the Economy and Workforce through Creativity, Revitalization, Education, and Science of Technology (NEW CREST) project. NEW CREST will implement a Computer Network Technology program, targeting underserved new, incumbent, and dislocated workers in MDCC’s service area, and offer training in telecommunications, network technologies, administration, hardware maintenance, operating systems, network planning, and implementation.
Rust College has been awarded nearly $255,000 for the Rust College Rural AgriTech Program. The program will produce viable economic development strategies for small, rural communities, create a sustainable talent pipeline, and establish locally and regionally significant public-private partnerships between underrepresented students, farmers, and aeronautical professionals.
Jackson State University has been awarded nearly $450,000 to develop an online Cybersecurity and Information Systems Management certificate program. The program will train new entrants to the workforce, incumbent workers, and distance learners for cybersecurity and information technology careers.
City of Natchez has been awarded over $443,000 for the Natchez-Adams County Workforce Initiative. The initiative will develop and implement a workforce training system to align workforce development initiatives with current and future employment trends. Dislocated workers, new entrants to the workforce, and incumbent workers residing in Natchez-Adams County and surrounding areas will be upskilled or trained and placed in quality, in-demand jobs.
Mississippi Coding Academies has been awarded $450,000 to provide career training as computer coders and developers in the tech field.
Little Learner’s Spectrum Center, Inc. has been awarded $450,000 to adopt and implement worker-centered sector strategies that will serve as a model for other communities and businesses and train quality workers within eight counties to implement and grow childcare openings and careers.
Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission has been awarded over $402,000 for the Workforce Ready Project. The project will enable four Southeast Missouri regional learning institutions to establish training programs for new entry and incumbent workers in health care, transportation, construction, manufacturing, or technology-related fields.
Missouri State University–West Plains has been awarded over $437,000 to engage unemployed or underemployed adults, veterans, high school youth, incumbent workers, and other underrepresented groups through education and career training within the manufacturing and construction sections.
Agricenter International has been awarded nearly $450,000 to expand AgTech career pathways for new entrants and dislocated and incumbent workers through its GradTech program. The program will expand to year-round service delivery to meet the needs and availability of incumbent and dislocated workers by providing a skills- and work-based learning experience.
ProGeny Startups, in collaboration with the GradUS Project, has been awarded nearly $443,000 to implement Project E.A.T. – Food as an Economic Mobility Tool 2.0. The project will serve dislocated and unemployed workers, with an emphasis on serving domestic violence victims in Shelby, Gibson, and Madison Counties, who will be enrolled in a job training program supporting food-based manufacturing.
Memphis Chamber Foundation has been awarded over $447,000 as part of a collaborative effort to build a sustainable talent pipeline of STEM-focused, job-ready individuals to fill the increasing demand for advanced manufacturing jobs in the Memphis region, retain existing advanced manufacturer clusters, and competitively attract additional advanced manufacturers to the region.
To complement this funding opportunity, DRA will offer grantees post-award technical assistance to ensure projects are effectively implemented.
Additional information about DWP, including important dates and resources, is available at Delta Workforce Grant Program – Delta Regional Authority (dra.gov).
About the Delta Regional Authority
The DRA was established in 2000 as a formal framework for joint federal-state collaboration to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River and Alabama Black Belt regions. To fulfill this purpose, DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development. DRA’s region encompasses 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.