The U.S. Labor Department today announced $138 million in regional- and industry-specific job training grants, a significant portion of which will go for training in manufacturing and advanced manufacturing industries.
The grants, ranging from $500,000 to $7 million, will be parceled out among 27 states and the Cherokee tribal nation. Twenty-four of those states specify at least some funds going to workforce development in manufacturing; only Colorado, Alaska and New Hampshire have not designated funds for manufacturing jobs.
Administered by state workforce agencies, the grants are designed to “scale up” programs that are already working to "react to fluid marketplace demands," according to a statement from Department of Labor. They also aim to encourage better collaboration between training programs and educational institutions; career and job-placement agencies; and employers with specific workforce needs. These “sector partnerships” are outlined in Vice President Joe Biden’s July 2014 Job-Driven Training Report.
“Today’s awards will help better align workforce skills with the needs of regional industries,” said Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez in a statement. “By doing so, these funds will have a positive and meaningful impact on the communities they serve now and into the future.”
The grants “will promote work-based learning opportunities like apprenticeship — a proven, battle-tested training model,” Perez added in a post on the Labor Department’s blog. “States like Iowa, Indiana, New York, and Oregon are placing strong emphasis on connecting workers to apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing.”
Training will center on short-term training, work-based learning opportunities and accelerated skills training, especially if it leads to industry-recognized credentials and registered apprenticeships.
In Connecticut, for instance, nearly $3.9 million will go to an eight-county collaboration led by Workforce Investment Boards to expand registered apprenticeship programs and better align Trade Adjustment Assistance with programs that serve veterans. Job training will specifically target dislocated workers (unemployed workers with outdated skills), long-term unemployed job seekers and workers who are likely to exhaust their unemployment benefits.
In Ohio, six local Workforce Investment Boards, community colleges, and at least 38 employers will partner in a $7 million grant to develop individual career plans and work-based training that leads to industry-recognized credentials and direct job placement. Sectors include manufacturing, energy/oil/gas, financial, healthcare, information technology and transportation/logistics.