U.S. Department of Labor Announces $34.2M in Funding for Delta and Appalachian Regions

April 27, 2022

Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative invests in projects providing career training and support services for quality jobs in high-demand careers.

CLARKSDALE, MS – In partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority (DRA) today announced the availability of $34.2 million in a fourth round of funding through the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative.  The funding opportunity seeks to invest in projects providing career and support services to people in the Delta and Appalachian regions so they may secure quality jobs in stable, high-demand occupations.

“In three years of funding provided by the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor has invested more than $43.7 million into 33 workforce training projects in all eight states served by the Delta Regional Authority,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins.  “As a result, the WORC Initiative has helped cultivate regional partnerships that expand workforce development opportunities for both employers and job seekers, keeping high quality jobs in the Delta while providing more than 12,000 hard-working individuals the opportunity to learn new skills, advance in their careers, and support their families.”

Administered by DOL’s Employment and Training Administration, WORC grants ranging from $150,000 to $1.5 million will fund projects to provide jobs, skills training, and employment support services as workforce demands in these areas increase in high-growth and high-demand industries.  Successful applicants will implement projects that demonstrate collaboration with community partners and coordination with existing economic development strategies.

The WORC Initiative aims to help rural communities create and promote new, sustainable job opportunities in competitive industries, particularly in regions that have suffered significant job losses in the energy extraction industry.  These grants are intended to help new job seekers, dislocated workers, and incumbent workers develop new skills and prepare people returning to the workforce.

Since 2019, the WORC Initiative has invested more than $87.5 million into the Delta and Appalachian regions.

Learn more about the WORC Initiative grants and apply here.

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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 regions.  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
202-515-1354
sblair@dra.gov