The U.S. Department of Labor announced July 14 a $220 million competition to fund projects training workers for jobs in healthcare and other high growth industries such as information technology and advanced manufacturing. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will pick up the check for grants awarded in this competition, which falls under its economic recovery initiatives.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis says grants provide funding for local public entities and private non-profit organizations that develop training and employment placement service projects. Applicants may include labor organizations, healthcare providers, education and training providers, faith-based organizations, community organizations, and Workforce Investment Boards.
“Healthcare and other fields are home to professions that pay family-supporting wages and offer opportunities for career advancement,” says Solis. “Training programs funded through these grants will help a diverse group of workers in communities across the country gain the skills needed to get good jobs in promising industries.”
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) will oversee the distribution of funds to all grantees. They plan to fund 45-65 grants costing between $2 million to $5 million.
Project training may address skills needed in emerging industries in specific regions offering jobs and careers left vacant due to lack of qualified workers. About $25 million is reserved for projects in areas affected by automotive industry restructuring. This will help unemployed auto workers gain new skills for emerging jobs, says Ed Montgomery, executive director of the president’s Auto Communities and Workers Council.
According to the Department of Labor, grantees’ projects will train unemployed, dislocated, and incumbent workers. Among those workers may include individuals on public assistance, high school dropouts, disabled workers, veterans, Native Americans, and those with limited English proficiency.
A technical review panel convened by the ETA will evaluate competition applications against the selection criteria set forth in the Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA). Selection will also be made with consideration of other factors such as urban, rural, and geographical balance. Projects are required to provide workers with training and information regarding growing industries that are expected to add many jobs to the economy and require new skills due to evolving technologies.