DRA’s $1.6M Investment through Delta Workforce Grant Program Includes Two Missouri Initiatives

November 30, 2020

CLARKSDALE, MS – Today, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced a $1,687,013 investment into 13 programs within the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions through the Delta Workforce Grant Program (DWP).  The investment includes two Missouri awardees:  Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation and Missouri State University – West Plains.  DWP supports programs and initiatives that expand job training and re-employment opportunities, align workforce and economic development strategies, create sustainable talent pipelines, establish or enhance locally/regionally significant public-private partnerships, and support enhanced workforce productivity through innovative programming.

“As our economy continues to recover in Missouri, it is important to create ecosystems that support industry-driven workforce development,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell.  “Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation and Missouri State University – West Plains both demonstrated a commitment to building a skilled workforce in Missouri by collaborating with industry partners to develop innovative strategies that will ultimately strengthen the region’s economic outlook.”

DRA invested a total of $244,880 into the following two Missouri programs:

Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation | Portageville, MO: The Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation will use DRA funding to provide apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and agricultural entrepreneurial opportunities to meet the identified workforce needs of the agribusiness and agriculture-adjacent industries. The investment is projected to train up to 50 individuals throughout six counties in Southeast Missouri.
DRA Investment: $150,000

Missouri State University – West Plains | West Plains, MO: Missouri State University – West Plains will use DRA funding to purchase needed equipment for advanced workforce training in robotics. The investment is projected to train 50-75 individuals, including dislocated workers, new entrants in the workforce, incumbent workers, and underrepresented groups such as women, veterans, minority groups, and individuals with disabilities.
DRA Investment: $94,880

Grants ranging from $76,800 to $150,000 were awarded to industry-driven workforce development programs and initiatives in six DRA states.  Eligible applicants demonstrated at least one employer partner seeking to hire more skilled workers in a high-demand industry sector and will aid communities particularly hard hit by industrial downsizing, business closures, and job losses as a result of the public health and economic crisis.  

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.


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
Director of Communications and Public Engagement