The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a $14,587,500 investment into eight organizations across the Mississippi River Delta region to expand the impact of workforce development efforts through the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant initiative.
These grant funds, awarded by DOL’s Employment and Training Administration in collaboration with DRA and the Appalachian Regional Commission, focus on rural areas hard hit by economic transition and recovering more slowly. Grantees have designed projects to address the specific skills needed by both businesses and workers in the DRA or ARC service area.
“DRA’s mission is to support economic development by making investments into the physical infrastructure and human capital of the Delta region,” DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell said. “These investments will support innovative job training programs that prepare workers with the skills they need to be placed in quality careers and will supply local industry with a highly sophisticated workforce so they can grow and thrive in today’s economy. I am pleased to announce these awards alongside Secretary Pallasch and Chairman Thomas, and I am hopeful that these programs will provide greater economic opportunities for individuals and businesses across the Delta region.”
WORC grant applicants could apply for funding amounts between $150,000 and $2,500,000 for developing local and regional workforce development solutions aligned with existing economic development strategies. The grants also provide enhanced training and support activities to dislocated workers (including displaced homemakers); new entrants to the workforce; and incumbent workers. Collectively, these grant activities promote new, sustainable job opportunities and long-term economic vitality.
In Arkansas, Arkansas Northeastern College received $2.324 million. Craighead, Mississippi, Greene, Crittenden, Jackson, St. Francis, and Phillips counties were among those in the service area connected to the grant.