Delta Regional Authority
September 04, 2020  
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Delta News Round-up

A Message from the Federal Co-Chairman | HHS Awards $10 Million Grant through the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program | Delta Workforce Grant Program 2020 Application Cycle Now Open | President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Opportunity Zones | DLI 2021 Executive Academy Application Deadline Extended to September 30th

A Message from the Federal Co-Chairman

Summer unofficially comes to a close this weekend with the celebration of Labor Day on Monday.  In a normal year, many of us would be spending the long weekend watching college football, cooking out with family and friends, or spending one last weekend at the lake before the kids go back to school.  While this year’s Labor Day weekend will look different for most Americans, the reason we celebrate remains the same:  to honor American workers.
Through centuries of hard work, determination, and grit, American workers have built this land into the greatest nation on Earth.  In June 1894, President Grover Cleveland recognized this spirit by signing into law a bill making the first Monday in September our national Labor Day.  Over 126 years later, we at the Delta Regional Authority continue to give our thanks to American workers as well as those committed to getting Americans back to work.
The Delta Workforce Grant Program (DWP) is an initiative born from that commitment.  In June 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13801, “Expanding Apprenticeships in America,” to promote affordable education and rewarding jobs for American workers through the reformation of America’s education systems and workforce development programs.  DWP was launched as a response to the President’s EO, and this year $1.5 million in grants is available to support industry-led workforce training, build collaborative talent pipelines, support or enhance industry clusters, and accelerate local or regional economic development.  
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is traveling throughout our region to see first-hand the impact our investments make within their communities.  DWP prioritizes investments into communities and regions that have been negatively impacted by economic transition, and even in tough times, it is often stories I hear from these communities that are the most hopeful.  A few months ago, I visited with a welder who recently completed a DWP-funded program.  Six months prior to his enrollment, the man was homeless and hitchhiking across the region.  Two months after his enrollment, he had received his certification and was earning a living wage.  Through the DWP program, the man received more than a job.  He learned a high-demand skill which put him on the path to a career laborer.  
I believe President Theodore Roosevelt said it best: “It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.”  This weekend, though it may be different than in years past, let us celebrate our resiliency while looking forward to what is ahead.  Thanks to the efforts of our nation’s workforce and those training our next generation of skilled laborers, I know that our region will continue moving on to better things.

HHS Awards $10 Million Grant through the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan met on August 20th in Little Rock with Chairman Chris Caldwell, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and various Arkansas hospital and healthcare officials to announce HHS awards of over $35 million to increase access to high quality health care in rural communities.  Among the awards was $10 million to the National Rural Health Resource Center to provide technical assistance and support to vulnerable hospitals in rural communities through the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development (DRCHSD) Program.  

The DRCHSD Program improves healthcare delivery in the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions through intensive, multi-year technical assistance to healthcare facilities in rural communities.  The Program supports capacity building for health care facilities around quality improvement and implementation of value-based care, financial and operational improvement, telehealth, community care coordination, workforce, emergency medical services, and population health.

DRA’s collaboration with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to administer the Program for health care facilities in the region has a tremendous impact on the residents living in rural Delta communities.  Currently, 21 medical facilities are participating in the program, and this newly announced investment will increase the total to 30 rural hospitals across the Delta region receiving specialized technical assistance in 2021.

The application process for the DRCHSD Program is now a continuous cycle.  Interested hospitals and healthcare facilities must submit a Notice of Intent to Apply.  Please visit DRA’s website for more information.

Delta Workforce Grant Program 2020 Application Cycle Now Open

The application cycle for the 2020 Delta Workforce Grant Program (DWP) is now open.  The Program invests federal resources in communities across the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions particularly hard hit by industrial downsizing, business closures, and job losses as a result of the public health and economic crisis. 

“DRA is committed to investing in workforce training and education that supports job seekers, incumbent workers, and employers to help strengthen economic development in Delta communities,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell.  “As our economy recovers, it is critical that we make these resources available to Delta and Alabama Black Belt communities to strengthen their workforce, create jobs, and improve quality of life across the region.”

DWP supports projects and initiatives that create a more vibrant economic future for the DRA footprint by expanding job training and re-employment opportunities, aligning workforce and economic development strategies, creating sustainable talent pipelines, establishing or enhancing locally/regionally significant public-private partnerships, and supporting enhanced workforce productivity through investments in innovative programming.

Under the program’s Request for Proposals, DRA makes available $1.5 million in grants ranging from $25,000-150,000 to support industry-driven workforce development programs and initiatives in Delta and Alabama Black Belt communities.  Applications must target workforce training and education for individuals residing in the DRA region and include at least one employer partner seeking to hire more skilled workers in a high-demand industry sector.
To complement this funding opportunity, DRA will offer post-award technical assistance to grantees to ensure projects are effectively and sustainably implemented.

To submit a grant application, visit the Delta Workforce Grant Program portal at  All applications must be submitted in the grant portal by October 12, 2020 at 11:59pm CST.  Additional information about the Delta Workforce Program, including important dates and resources, is available at

President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Opportunity Zones; Council of Economic Advisers Releases Initial Assessment

On August 24th, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Targeting Opportunity Zones and Other Distressed Communities for Federal Site Locations” alongside with the release of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) initial assessment of Opportunity Zones (OZs).  Through this Order, President Trump is furthering his commitment to bring opportunity and prosperity to distressed communities across America.  These efforts are guided by the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council (WHORC), which was formed to better coordinate Federal economic development resources in OZs and other distress communities.  DRA is a WHORC Federal member agency.

The CEA assessment found that since being enacted in 2017, nearly 9,000 Opportunity Zones have been designated across the country, affecting nearly 35 million Americans.  OZs have attracted $75 billion in funds and driven $52 billion of new investment in economically distressed communities, creating over 500,000 new jobs.  Private equity investments into businesses in OZs were nearly 30 percent higher than investments into businesses in similar areas not designated as OZs.  As a result of these new investments, approximately one million Americans will be lifted from poverty.

For more information, visit or click here to find qualified OZs in the DRA region

Delta Leadership Institute 2021 Executive Academy Application Deadline Extended to September 30th

In these challenging times, effective leadership in our region’s communities is more important than ever before. The Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy trains leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to improve economic competitiveness and social viability in the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.

Apply today to become a DLI Fellow and equip yourself with the tools, experiences, and networks need to bring about a positive change in your community.  Applications close on September 30, 2020.  For more information about DLI and the 2021 DLI Executive Academy, visit or email questions to

Upcoming Events:

September 15, 2020 - September 16, 2020
DRCHSD Virtual Summit
September 22, 2020 - September 23, 2020
DLI Class of 2019-2020 Graduation Session
September 30, 2020
DLI 2020-2021 Executive Academy application closes
October 16, 2020
Delta Workforce Grant Program application closes

Click Here To Submit An Event

DRA Newsroom:

Delta Regional Authority

236 Sharkey Avenue - Suite 400
Clarksdale, MS 38614
(662) 624-8600 | DRA.GOV

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