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Delta Regional Authority, U.S. Department of Labor announces $17.1 million in workforce employment and training Grants to rural Delta communities

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Grants awarded to 13 programs in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee to provide innovative job training for high-quality career outcomes.

Arkansas Delta Informer – Sept. 20, 2022 – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA), in partnership with the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), today announced a $17.2 million investment to 13 programs designed to provide employment and training services to regional and local workforces.

Two of those programs in Arkansas, the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences in North Little Rock and South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado, will receive $1,390,214 and $835,499, respectively.

Administered by the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration, the fourth round of Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative grants – ranging from $835,499 to $1,441,292 – will fund projects to invest in education, training and career support services in the Appalachian and Delta regions.

Recipients will align community-led economic and workforce development strategies and provide services to residents of the two regions, including those dislocated workers; new entrants to the workforce, including students or the long-term unemployed; incumbent workers looking to improve their career prospects; and individuals affected by persistent poverty.

“Investments in workforce development is a key tool for economic growth in rural communities,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “Our continued partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor allows us to meet local industry demands head-on by developing a skilled workforce while also establishing a talent pool that will attract new businesses to the region.”

Authorized by the Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act, WORC grants allow recipients to help their communities diversify their local economies by developing a skilled workforce and providing equitable access to marginalized communities. WORC grants also aim to address the impacts of economic transition on communities previously reliant on energy-related employment. 

“The Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative grants will engage local communities in building pathways to quality jobs for workers. The grants reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment under the Justice40 initiative to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, training and workforce development to disadvantaged communities,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration Brent Parton.

This year’s WORC grant recipients include:

•             Alabama Department of Commerce (AL): $1,384,792

•             Arkansas Center for Data Sciences (AR): $1,390,214

•             Delta Health Alliance, Inc. (MS): $1,394,196

•             Dream Innovations, Incorporated (MS): $1,394,535

•             Mississippi Community College Board (MS): $1,394,535

•             New Orleans Career Center (LA): $1,283,998

•             NextOp, Inc. (LA): $1,143,215

•             Ozark Action, Inc. (MO): $1,394,535

•             South Arkansas Community College (AR): $835,499

•             Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences (MO): $1,394,535

•             Strada Collaborative, Inc. (IN): $1,394,534

•             Workforce Development Board SDA-83, Inc. (LA): $1,394,535

•             YoWealth Academy (TN): $1,388,377

Created by Congress in 2000, the DRA was started to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development and infrastructure projects in 252 counties and parishes across eight Delta states, including Jefferson County and the namesake region of Arkansas.

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