The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of up to $53 million in grants through the Workforce Innovation Fund, an initiative designed to strengthen public job training programs by: delivering employment and training services more efficiently and effectively, facilitating greater cooperation across workforce programs and funding streams, scaling best practices, and implementing rigorous evaluation techniques. Workforce Innovation Fund grants will invest in both the scaling of proven ideas and the development of promising ideas that are being implemented for the first time.
"Developing more efficient and effective job training solutions is crucial to building the pipeline of skilled workers needed to compete in the global economy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Workforce Innovation Fund grants encourage innovation to help programs fund what works and fix what doesn't."
This is the second round of grants available under the Workforce Innovation Fund. Approximately $171 million in grants were awarded in the first round, which included $147 million for 26 grants in July 2012 and $24 million for two Pay for Success grants in October 2013.
"We at the Department of Commerce are thrilled to be working with the Department of Labor to break down the silos between the private sector, the workforce system, training organizations, academic institutions and government to create a collaborative ecosystem that supports the needs of our workers and our businesses," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "We know that workforce training works best when we have businesses at the table to define precisely what they are looking for as they hire employees and to help design the programs to address those needs."
The goals of the Workforce Innovation Fund are closely aligned with the administration's job-driven training principles. Many grantees funded in the first round are working with local and regional employers, industry groups, and their state commerce and development agencies to strengthen public-private partnerships. This second round of funding will help catalyze and expand similar efforts.
Eligible grantees include state workforce agencies, local workforce investment boards and institutions eligible to apply for Workforce Innovation Act Section 166 grants.
To access this Solicitation for Grant Applications announcement (SGA/DFA PY 13-06), please visit http://www.grants.gov. Additional grant information is also available at http://www.doleta.gov/grants/. Applications are due by Wednesday, June 18, 2014, and awards will be made in September 2014.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit department's Workforce Innovation Fund website for more information and to access tools and resources to improve the quality of applications. An online tutorial for prospective applicants, "Grant Applications 101: A Plain English Guide to ETA Competitive Grants," is available through the department's Workforce3One website at http://www.workforce3one.org/page/grants_toolkit. Project summaries from all first round applicants and full technical proposals for funded programs are also available online.
To read about how the Workforce Innovation Fund and other federally-funded job training programs that are making a difference in your community and to find resources that can help connect jobseekers and employers, visit http://www.dol.gov/findyourpath/ and contribute to the conversation on Twitter using #FindYourPath.