Delta Regional Authority awards $1.5 million in new investments

December 16, 2014

Delta Regional Authority awards $1.5 million in new investments to communities to transform region’s workforce development

Awards work with local leaders to improve regional skills pipelines through stronger workforce systems in Delta communities

LITTLE ROCK – Workforce development leaders across the Mississippi River Delta region and Alabama Black Belt will receive more than $1.5 million to transform workforce development in their communities, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced today. The resources will specifically fund technical assistance and capacity building for communities and regional clusters with a particular focus on younger and underserved populations to meet the needs of business and industry. 

“We believe that teaming with local leaders and investing in our workforce training system from the ground up is the best way to transform our region’s future,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. “These much-needed investments will help us create capacity with systematic change for the hard-working families and residents of the Delta by providing increased pathways for skills attainment and job placement.” 

To learn more about the workforce development initiative or the recent summits, watch DRA’s video series on Re-imagining Workforce Development on the DRA website.

The new awards come as part of a $1.7 million workforce development initiative –Reimagining the Delta Workforce – begun in Summer 2014 to help identify opportunities and implement strategies for enhancing regional and local workforce development systems throughout the DRA footprint.

The capacity building and technical assistance will help county-wide, parish-wide, and region-wide leadership teams develop programs and systems-based policies to build a more connected, comprehensive workforce system among educational institutions and business and industry sectors. 


  1. ALABAMA: Reinventing Career Readiness for Future Success -- $149,590: Provide career readiness training sessions for the unemployed and underemployed  by incorporating WorkKeys curriculum into job training and soft skills education (Greene, Hale, Perry, Sumter, and Wilcox Counties). 
  2. ALABAMA: A Multilayered Analysis of Current and Projected Education -- $150,000: Analyze current and projected education and workforce development needs of untapped key workforce populations, such as young adults, dislocated workers, ex-offenders, and Native Americans, particularly those with or without a secondary credential and without postsecondary plans (Washington, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Monroe, and Escambia Counties). 
  3. KENTUCKY: Work Ready Communities -- $100,000: Hold region-wide workforce development system planning sessions ending with a strategic plan to advance the productivity and economic competitiveness of the region’s workforce with support of Jobs for the Future (Union & Webster Counties).
  4. LOUISIANA/MISSISSIPPI: Certified Work Ready Region -- $150,000: Create a Certified Work Ready Communities region in central Louisiana and Adams County, Mississippi to strengthen the workforce skills of the region, document those skills, align workforce skills with employer needs through employer summits, and give the region a competitive economic edge based on local advantages (Adams County-MS; Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, & Winn Parishes). 
  5. LOUSIANA: Hammond Career Pathways Program -- $150,000: Mentor high school juniors, examine local career opportunities, and help them gain the prerequisite soft skills needed to pursue employment. Leaders are also building partnerships with local industry along Lake Pontchartrain to connect graduates with local jobs. (St. Helena, Tangipahoa, & Washington Parishes).
  6. MISSISSIPPI/LOUISIANA: Miss Lou Workforce Development -- $73,000: Partner with WIN Job Centers and technical and community colleges to assess skills of workforce, aptitude and training needs to prepare counties and parishes to become Work Ready Communities (Adams County, MS; Concordia Parish, LA).
  7. MISSOURI: Workforce Development in the Meramec Region -- $128,460: Implement the approved ACT Certified Work Ready Communities plans in four counties by increasing residents with National Career Readiness Certificates and building employer partnerships (Crawford, Dent, Phelps, & Washington Counties).
  8. MISSOURI: The Keys to Success -- $148,000: Identify new strategies for the southeast Missouri region to appeal to younger students in career exploration efforts, assist regional businesses in workforce recruitment and retention efforts, and plan for an emerging challenge in information technology positions in area companies needing a highly trained workforce in a mostly rural region (Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Scott, & Stoddard Counties). 
  9. TENNESSEE: Solving the Skills Gap -- $125,000: The Memphis Chamber Foundation will help to create a Manufacturing Council and conduct a MADE IN FAYETTE COUNTY study to identify workforce needs and job projects with skills sets (Fayette & Shelby Counties).
  10. TENNESSEE: Haywood County Workforce Development -- $50,000: Train leaders in Haywood County to plan system reform and obtain certification as an ACT Certified Work Ready Community by connecting students, adults, and disconnected youth to knowledge and skills required by local business and industry leaders (Haywood County).
  11. TENNESEE: Work Ready Communities: Training Northwest Tennessee's Laborforce – $150,000: Dyersburg State Community College will partner with the local workforce investment board to connect local residents to National Career Readiness Certification opportunities and identify skill levels needed for currently-available jobs (Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, Obion, Tipton, & Weakley Counties).
  12. TENNESSEE: REDI College Mentor Program - $150,000: Implement the REDI/Tennessee Promise College Access Program to enhance the existing College Mentor Program that works with high school seniors in 19 high schools in Southwest Tennessee to connect them with learning opportunities and available skills training (Chester, Crockett, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Madison, McNairy, & Tipton Counties).


Contact: Spencer Lucker
(202) 434-4842,