U.S. Department of Labor Announces $14.5M in Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Grants

September 27, 2021

Grants from $500,000 to $1.5 Million awarded to 12 programs in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee to provide innovative job training for high-quality career outcomes.

CLARKSDALE, MS – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), today announced a $14,587,500 investment to 12 programs designed to provide employment and training services to workers and job seekers.

Administered by the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the third round of the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative (WORC) grants, ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million, was awarded to 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.

“The WORC initiative continues to impact economic growth in Delta communities by providing the necessary resources to create a more prosperous future,” said Delta Regional Authority Interim Chief of Staff Kemp Morgan. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s $14.5 million investment will enable 12 innovative training programs throughout the region to prepare hundreds of Delta residents for high quality careers in high demand industries such as aerospace and defense manufacturing, agricultural technology, and renewable energy.”

Authorized by the Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act, WORC grants allow recipients to help their communities diversify their local economies by developing a skilled workforce and providing equitable access to marginalized communities. WORC grants are designed to be flexible to meet the specific, identified needs of businesses, workers, job seekers, and communities throughout the Delta and Appalachian regions.

“These Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative grants demonstrate the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting the long-term economic stability and opportunities for workers in rural communities, especially those connected to the energy industry, across the Appalachian and Lower Mississippi Delta regions,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration Angela Hanks. “These investments alongside our federal partners link economic and workforce development to support equity, quality jobs and economic prosperity for residents in these regions in this recovery and beyond.”

This year’s WORC grant recipients include:

  • West Alabama Chamber Foundation Inc. (Tuscaloosa, AL): $973,709
  • Advocates for Community and Rural Education (Little Rock, AR): $1,055,250
  • Arkansas Rural Health Partnership (Lake Village, AR): $1,500,000
  • Southern Arkansas University Tech (Camden, AR): $1,495,154
  • University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (Batesville, AR): $1,075,943
  • Save the Children Federation Inc. (AR, LA, MS & TN): $1,500,000
  • Kentucky Community and Technical College System Madisonville Community College (Madisonville, KY): $1,141,420
  • Herzing University, LTD (Metairie, LA): $1,500,000
  • Institute for Indian Development (Houma, LA): $500,000
  • Louisiana State University at Eunice (Eunice, LA): $846,239
  • River Parishes Community College (Gonzales, LA): $1,499,883
  • Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond, LA): $1,499,902

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