Strengthening the Delta Workforce

In 2018 the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) launched the Delta Workforce Program, an initiative designed to build long-term community capacity and increase economic competitiveness across the Mississippi River Delta region and Alabama Black Belt.

About the Delta Workforce Program

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), approximately $29.2 million in grants are available under the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) initiative to support workforce training and education in rural communities across the Delta and Appalachian regions. To complement this federal partnership, DRA facilitates pre-award technical assistance workshops and webinars, makes available $1.5 million in grants under the Delta Workforce Grant Program, and offers post-award technical assistance to grantees.

The Delta Workforce Program prioritizes investing in communities and regions that have been negatively impacted by economic transition and need assistance to help build their workforce pipelines and strengthen their economies.

Investment priorities include:

  • Supporting industry-led workforce training
  • Building collaborative talent pipelines
  • Supporting or enhancing industry clusters
  • Accelerating local or regional economic development


2021 Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Grants

Total Program Funding: $29,200,000

2021 Funding Cycle: April 22 – July 21, 2021

Eligible Applicants include:

  • State and county governments
  • City or township governments
  • State or local workforce development boards
  • Special district governments
  • Regional organizations
  • Independent school districts
  • Public/state-controlled institutions of higher education
  • Indian/Native American tribal governments (both Federally Recognized and non-Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American tribally designated organizations
  • Public/Indian housing
  • Nonprofit organizations (with or without 501(c)(3) status)
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Hispanic-serving institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)

Successful applicants will also receive technical assistance from DRA staff during the period of performance to ensure projects and federal resources are deployed effectively.

For more information and to view the Workforce Opportunity in Rural Communities Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit the grant opportunity announcement at

Important Dates

April 22, 2021 DOL-ETA publishes FOA for WORC Grants on
July 21, 2021 DOL-ETA closes WORC Grants cycle

September 2021

DOL-ETA awards WORC Grants

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is hosting three pre-award technical assistance workshops and one webinar to complement the U.S. Department of Labor's Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Grant Program. Potential applicants are encouraged to attend to learn more about creating a competitive proposal and hear from previous grantees about their lessons learned.

In partnership with the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the US DOL-ETA has made available approximately $29.2 million in a third round of grant funding for the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative. Grants ranging from $150,000 to $1.5 million will be made awarded to create economic prosperity, gainful employment, and high-quality career outcomes for workers who reside in the Delta and Appalachian regions, enabling them to remain and thrive in these communities.

Monday, May 24, 2021
10:00AM – 2:00PM CT
Oxford Conference Center | Cedar Room
102 Ed Perry Blvd.
Oxford, MS 38655
Registration Link
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
10:00AM – 2:00PM CT
Arkansas State University
The Delta Center for Economic Development
Room 201
319 University Loop
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Registration Link
Friday, June 11, 2021
10:00AM – 2:00PM CT
University of Louisiana Monroe
Bayou Point | Bayou Room
1 Warhawk Way
Monroe, LA 71209
Registration Link
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
10:30AM – 12:00PM CT
Via Zoom
Registration Link

In-person workshops will be limited to 50 attendees for each location. Face masks and social distancing will be required as well other CDC safety recommendations.


More Information

For questions regarding the WORC or DWP grant programs, please contact