(CLOSED) Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) FOA-ETA-21-08

Sponsor Name: 
US Department of Labor
Description of the Award: 

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL, or the Department, or we), in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) (www.arc.gov) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) (www.dra.gov), announces the availability of approximately $29.2 million in grant funds, authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), for the third round of Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative demonstration grants. The funding, as described in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-94), will build on previous rounds of WORC grants and fund projects supporting rural communities in aligning workforce development efforts with economic development plans, serving the following areas hard-hit by economic transition and recovering slowly:

  • The Appalachian region, as defined in 40 U.S.C. 14102(a)(1), and
  • The Lower Mississippi Delta (Delta) region, as defined in 7 U.S.C. 2009aa(2).

The goal of this grant opportunity is to create economic prosperity, gainful employment, and high-quality career outcomes for workers (as identified in Section III.C.3. of this FOA) who reside in the Appalachian and Delta regions, enabling them to remain and thrive in these communities. The WORC Initiative provides funding to eligible applicants proposing to meet this goal with a project addressing the employment and training needs of the local and regional workforce, created in collaboration with community partners and aligned with existing economic and workforce development plans and strategies.

Successful applicants will demonstrate clear strategies to provide needed career, training, and support services to eligible individuals in counties, parishes, and/or areas currently underserved by other resources, so they may secure good jobs in stable, high-demand occupations. Eligible individuals served under this grant include dislocated workers, new entrants to the workforce, and incumbent workers.

The Department encourages applicants to propose strategies to achieve economic opportunity and address historical inequities, especially in Energy Communities (as defined in Section IV.B.3(a)); such strategies might:

  • Address and promote racial equity through adjustments in recruitment, service design, implementation, and support services that aim to provide equitable access and outcomes to communities of color, immigrants, and other marginalized groups; include partnerships with a range of organizations that support the applicant’s ability to reach out to and deliver equitable services to marginalized groups; or improve data collection and analysis that allows the applicant to disaggregate program outcomes by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and income in order to improve performance outcomes for marginalized groups;
  • support eligible individuals impacted by substance use disorder;
  • demonstrate flexible approaches to service delivery to allow for in-person, virtual, socially-distanced, or hybrid models of services and training; or
  • address the transformation in energy production by including in the service area Energy Communities that currently or historically have had a high concentration of employment in energy extraction and related industries.

Successful applicants will demonstrate collaboration with ARC and DRA, and clearly identify coordinated strategies to expand the capacity and effectiveness of the applicant in administering federal funds to provide workforce services in these communities. To this end, ARC and DRA will provide technical assistance to prospective applicants in their respective regions, as well as provide assistance and support to grantees across the life of the initiative, including through sharing of promising practices, curricula and resources developed by existing grantees. Potential applicants are encouraged to visit www.arc.gov or www.dra.gov for more information, including dates and locations for pre-application technical assistance meetings.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jul 21, 2021
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NIH 17-340_2021 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating Employer/Industry Partners
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

2. Project Description (no more than two pages, pdf) identifying the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements of the sponsor's solicitation and roles principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

3. 2-page CV's of Investigators

Formatting Guidelines:

Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Monday, June 21, 2021 - 4:00pm
Kevin Snider (PS New Kensington)