Delta Regional Authority Announces 2021 Delta Workforce Grant Program Awardees

January 13, 2022

$1.9 million invested into 10 workforce training projects from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

NEW ORLEANS – Delta Regional Authority (DRA) today announced $1.9 million in investments have been awarded to 10 projects in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee through the Delta Workforce Grant Program. 

“The Delta Workforce Grant Program makes targeted investments into programs throughout the Delta region that are solving skilled labor shortages by meeting local industry needs to get individuals back to work within our communities,” said DRA Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman Leslie Durham.  “As a result of Delta Regional Authority’s $1.9 million investment, a projected 834 people will receive industry-based skills training and then placed into a high-demand job within their community.”

DWP invests federal resources into workforce development projects throughout 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 crises. The program supports projects and initiatives that create a more vibrant economic future for the Delta region by expanding job training and re-employment opportunities, aligning workforce and economic development strategies, creating sustainable talent pipelines, establishing or enhancing local and regionally significant public-private partnerships, and supporting enhanced workforce productivity through investments in innovative programming.

DRA made available $1.9 million in grants ranging from $50,000 - $200,000 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 2021 Delta Workforce Grant Program awardees are:

Arkansas Rural Health Partnership (Lake Village, AR) has been awarded $200,000 for its Arkansas Delta Nurse Workforce Pipeline.  The Pipeline will coordinate efforts between nursing school applicants, 11 nursing schools, 13 rural hospitals, 2 federally qualified health centers, and an economic development agency to launch the first regional nursing clinic collaborative.  As a result, the program will increase the number of nurses trained, recruited, and retained by partners to serve Delta residents.  This program will train an estimated 300 individuals residing in 21 Arkansas communities.

Ozark Action, Inc. (West Plains, MO) has been awarded a $200,000 grant to train job-seeking individuals to receive industry-recognized credentials and meet the demand of local employers needing skilled workers in both nursing and truck driving fields.  The program is estimated to train 40 individuals within 6 Southern Missouri communities.

Agricenter International (Memphis, TN) has been awarded a $198,306 grant for the AgTech Summer Youth Program.  This is a two-year summer workforce development program introducing high school students to careers in agriculture-related fields.  In year 2, students will be paid as they job shadow professionals at partners companies in the agriculture sector and make professional contacts while refining their soft skills.  The program is estimated to train 40 individuals.

New Orleans Technical Education Provider (New Orleans, LA) has been awarded $200,000 to help place adults in hard to fill constructions jobs within the skilled crafts industries in three opportunity zones across Southeast Louisiana.  The program hopes to expand NOTEP’s adult workforce training program to serve 100 workers over the 24-month grant period.

Arkansas Center for Data Sciences (Little Rock, AR) has been awarded $193,750 for its GRADE project.  The project works to expand registered apprenticeships and work-based learning activity in IT occupations within the Arkansas Delta and is estimated to train 40 individuals.

Arkansas State University Mountain Home (Mountain Home, AR) has been awarded $200,000 to establish its first boat manufacturing training program targeting composites for fiberglass boats and welding for aluminum boats and trailers.  The program will partner with five local employers to train and provide industry-recognized credentials to 125 individuals, place 240 individuals in new jobs, and retain 1,085 existing jobs.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology Covington (Covington, TN) has been awarded $196,120 for its Electric Vehicle Technology Program.  TCAT is partnering with Tipton County Government to add the emerging Electric Vehicle Technology career pathway to its programming.  The program is estimated to train 25 individuals and serve 10 Tennessee communities.

Delta Health Alliance (Stoneville, MS) has been awarded $200,000 for the Delta Careers Collaborative.  This program will establish a new pipeline of industry-led workforce training and certifications to address the critical need for pre-K educators in four Mississippi counties.  The Collaborative expects to fulfill a critical need for affordable, high-quality early childhood education by providing career development services to 80 individuals.

Black River Technical College (Pocahontas, AR) has been awarded $200,000 for its Northeast Arkansas Nursing Workforce Development Initiative.  The College will partner with St. Bernards Healthcare, Five Rivers Medical, Lawrence Memorial, and Arkansas Methodist Medical Center to establish a nursing workforce consortium and by extending education hours to nights and weekends, expect to train 24 additional practical nursing students annually.

Greater New Orleans Development Foundation (New Orleans, LA) in collaboration with the Louisiana Parole Project and Orleans Parish Office of Workforce Development, has been awarded $200,000 for Project Rebirth.  The project will build awareness, action, and employer engagement specifically focused on three industry sectors experiencing talent shortages:  construction, healthcare, and manufacturing.  Project Rebirth will address unmet hiring needs and provide an estimated 60 individuals a stable career pathway for re-entry talent.

To complement this funding opportunity, DRA will offer grantees post-award technical assistance to ensure projects are effectively and sustainably implemented. 

Additional information about DWP, including important dates and resources, is available at www.dra.gov/workforce.

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About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.  DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development.  DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

DRA Media Contact:
Shawna Blair
202-515-1354
sblair@dra.gov