Strengthening the Delta Workforce

In June 2017, President Donald J. 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. In response to the President’s call to action, 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 National Dislocated Worker Reserve: Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Grants will become available to support workforce training and education in rural communities across the Delta and Appalachian regions. To complement the federal partnership, DRA will host two technical assistance workshops, make available $1.5 million in grants, and offer post-award technical assistance to grantees.

The Delta Workforce Program will prioritize investing in communities and regions that have been negatively impacted by economic transition and recovered more slowly to help build their workforce pipelines and strengthen their economies.

Investment priorities include:

  • Supporting industry-driven workforce training
  • Building collaborative workforce pipelines
  • Expanding industry clusters
  • Accelerating regional economic development

Technical Assistance Regional Workshops

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of DRA’s technical assistance workshops. Guided by subject-matter experts and workforce practitioners, these workshops are designed to provide stakeholders with the systems, resources, and tools necessary to develop and implement comprehensive workforce development programs.

Workshops will be held in early June 2019 according to the following schedule:







June 4, 2019


Memphis, TN

Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel

250 North Main Street

Memphis, TN 38103

Agenda (pdf)

RSVP here

June 6, 2019


Baton Rouge, LA

Hilton Baton Rouge Capital Center

201 Lafayette Street

Baton Rouge, LA 70801

Agenda (pdf)

RSVP here

Space is limited. Interested participants must RSVP no later than Friday, May 31 to attend.

2019 Delta Workforce Grant Program

View the RFP

Total Program Funding: $1.5 million

Award Ceiling: $150,000

Award Floor: $25,000

Eligible Applicants include:

  • State and local governments (state agencies, counties/parishes, cities/towns)
  • Other public bodies
  • Non-profit entities
  • Local development districts

All eligible applicants must apply for projects that operate in or are serving residents and communities within the 252 counites and parishes of the DRA region.

Successful applicants will be eligible for up to 50 hours of intensive technical assistance from select partners and DRA staff.

More information will be made available when DRA’s Request for Proposals (RFP) is published July 1, 2019.

2019 Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Grants

Total Program Funding: Approximately $29.2 million

Award Ceiling: $2.5 million

Award Floor: $150,000

Eligible Applicants include:

  • State and county governments
  • City or township governments
  • 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
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)

Successful applicants will be eligible for up to 50 hours of intensive technical assistance from select partners and DRA staff.

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

Important Dates

May 2019 DOL-ETA publishes WORC Grants on
June 4, 2019 DRA hosts technical assistance workshop in Memphis, TN
June 6, 2019 DRA hosts technical assistance workshop in Baton Rouge, LA
July 1, 2019 DRA publishes Delta Workforce Grants cycle
July 15, 2019 DOL-ETA closes WORC Grants cycle
August 30, 2019 DRA closes Delta Workforce Grants cycle
September 2019 DOL-ETA awards WORC Grants
DRA awards Delta Workforce Grants

2019 Delta Workforce Program

More Information

For more information about the Delta Workforce Program, please contact Aury Kangelos at