DRA’s $1.6M Investment through Delta Workforce Grant Program Includes Two Kentucky 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 Kentucky awardees:  Green River Area Development District and West Kentucky Community & Technical College.  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 Kentucky, it is important to create ecosystems that support industry-driven workforce development,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell.  “Green River Area Development District and West Kentucky Community & Technical College both demonstrated a commitment to building a skilled workforce in Kentucky by collaborating with industry partners to develop innovative strategies that will ultimately strengthen the region’s economic outlook.”

DRA invested a total of $256,580 into the following two Kentucky programs:

Green River Area Development District | Owensboro, KY: The Hire to Operate (H2O) project will use DRA funding to support the Kentucky Rural Water Association’s Registered Apprenticeship Program. Apprentices will become certified Water/Wastewater Systems Operation Specialists through Related Technical Instruction and on-the-job training. H2O will elevate the required skills to meet progressing technology standards and create a talent pipeline for local utilities to replenish the qualified pool of operators. The investment is projected to train ten individuals in Henderson, McLean, Union, and Webster counties.
DRA Investment: $150,000

West Kentucky Community & Technical College | Paducah, KY: West Kentucky Community & Technical College will use DRA funding to support its LPN-to-RN Accelerated Bridge program.  The program will pair an online preparatory course with a simulation lab and mentoring to improve exam pass rates, helping participants to complete the RN program in as little as one year.  This ultimately will alleviate a critical shortage of RNs entering the workforce while also improving employment opportunities, earning potential, and long-term employment.  The investment is projected to train up to 45 LPNs with advanced nursing education.
DRA Investment: $106,580

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