The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced Tuesday (Oct. 22) a $1.5 million investment into 11 organizations across the Mississippi River Delta region to align workforce and economic development strategies, enhance job training and re-employment opportunities, create sustainable talent pipelines, and support workforce productivity through investments in innovative programming and technology through the Delta Workforce Grant Program (DWP).
In Arkansas, $250,000 was doled to two institutions covering nine counties. Black River Technical College received $100,000 in Clay, Greene, Randolph, and Lawrence counties. UAM College of Technology-Crossett will receive $150,000 to cover the counties of Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Desha, and Drew.
“DRA is committed to investing in workforce training and education that supports job seekers, incumbent workers, and employers to help foster comprehensive economic development in Delta communities,” DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell said. “Through the Delta Workforce Grant Program, DRA is providing an opportunity for rural communities to have access to critical resources in order to strengthen their workforce, create jobs, and improve quality of life across the region.”
Through the DWP, grant applicants could apply for funding amounts between $25,000 and $150,000 to support workforce training and education in rural communities across the Delta region.
To complement this funding opportunity, DRA will offer post-award technical assistance to grantees to ensure projects are effectively and sustainably implemented. To be considered eligible, all awarded projects must target workforce training and education for individuals residing in the Delta region and include at least one industry partner seeking to hire more skilled workers in a high-demand sector.
Investments will be focused on four key priorities: supporting industry-led workforce training, building collaborative talent pipelines, developing or enhancing industry clusters, and accelerating regional economic development.