Last week the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the winners of $500 million worth of grants to develop workforce training programs. The half-billion in funding will be spread out among 15 different economic sectors, including manufacturing. The money specifically earmarked for manufacturing workforce development will be distributed to nine different groups servicing 11 states.
The nine groups, organizations and administrative entities receiving the funds are:
The Mid-South Center for Occupational Innovation (Serving Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee)
The Fresno County Economic Development Corporation (Serving California)
The Office of Workforce Strategy (Serving Connecticut)
The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees (Serving Florida)
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (Serving Illinois)
Nevadaworks (Serving Nevada)
The Chamber Foundation (Serving North Dakota and Minnesota)
The Washington Student Achievement Council (Serving Washington)
Manufacturers operating anywhere near where those nine groups operate—or in any of the states they service—now have a chance to get a financial boost to their workforce training plans and programs. If you’re a manufacturer who’s been hesitant to fully invest in a wider-scale workforce training program, these grants have the potential to lighten the financial load of doing so. And if your organization is already part of an existing workforce training and development program, fear not: the funds can be used to enhance and expand those as well.
The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan’s Good Jobs Challenge, a program administered by the EDA that aims to create jobs for more than 50,000 Americans by “jumpstarting the design, development, implementation and expansion of training programs that are tailored specifically to each community.”
“A trained workforce is essential to ensuring that the United States can compete and succeed in the 21st century,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Commerce Department is able to make once-in-a-generation investments in industry-driven, and locally-led workforce systems that will create high-quality jobs and accelerate regional economic growth, especially for underserved communities.”
The skills gap and worker shortage have been thorns in the sides of American manufacturers for decades now. This funding presents an opportunity to address these issues at the regional level, and it’s one that manufacturers operating in those areas shouldn’t pass up. To learn more about the program and get help connecting to the winning organizations, contact Catherine Ross at Cross@amtonline.org