DRA Announces $29.2M Funding Opportunity through U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Opportunity

April 22, 2021

U.S. Department of Labor offers grants from $150,000 to $1.5 Million to create economic prosperity, gainful employment, and high-quality career outcomes for Delta residents.

CLARKSDALE, MS – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA), in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), today announced the availability of approximately $29.2 million in a third round of grant funding for the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative.  Grants ranging from $150,000 to $1.5 million will be made available to create economic prosperity, gainful employment, and high-quality career outcomes for workers who reside in the Delta and Appalachian regions, enabling them to remain and thrive in these communities.

“The WORC initiative provides critical resources for Delta communities to strengthen their workforce and local economies by investing in innovative training for job seekers and workers, placing them in high-quality careers and meeting the needs of local industry so they can continue to grow and thrive in our region,” said Delta Regional Authority Chief of Staff Brian Henson. “This funding not only increases workforce competitiveness in the Delta region but also provides greater opportunities for communities to stimulate economic activity through the creation of jobs, business retention and expansion, and most importantly, the economic mobility of their residents.”

Under this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the ETA will award these grants to applicants proposing 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.  These projects will provide valuable career, training, and support services to dislocated workers, new workforce entrants, and incumbent workers in counties and parishes currently underserved by other resources.

Authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, WORC Initiative grants are designed to be flexible to meet the specific, identified needs of businesses, workers, job seekers, and communities across the Delta and Appalachian regions. ETA will award those applicants with strategies designed to achieve economic opportunity and address historical inequities, especially in Energy Communities.  Such strategies might:  address and promote racial equity through adjustments in recruitment, service design, implementation, and support services that aim to provide equitable access and positive outcomes to communities of color, immigrants, and other marginalized groups; support eligible individuals impacted by substance use disorder; demonstrate flexible approaches to service delivery to allow for in-person, virtual, socially-distanced, or hybrid models of services and training; or address the transformation in energy production by including Energy Communities that currently or historically have had a high concentration of employment in energy extraction and related industries.

To complement the federal partnership, DRA will host pre-award technical assistance webinars, offer post-award technical assistance to grantees, and make an additional $1.5 million in grants available in Summer 2021 through the Delta Workforce Program.  Potential applicants are encouraged to visit www.dra.gov/workforce for more information and resources.   

For additional information on grant eligibility and how to apply, please visit grants.gov.


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

DRA Program Contact:
Aury Kangelos
Program Manager