The US Department of Labor announced last week a $150 million grant program to invest in training in middle- to high-skilled H-1B occupations within key sectors in the U.S. economy, including information technology and cyber security, advanced manufacturing and transportation.

Through local public-private partnerships, organizations receiving grants from the H-1B One Workforce Grant Program will provide training within their communities to advance career pathways to employment in middle- to high-skilled H-1B occupations within key industry sectors. Training models will include a broad range of classroom and on-the-job training, customized training, incumbent worker training, registered apprenticeship programs and industry-recognized apprenticeship programs.

The DOL’s Employment and Training Administration aims to streamline funding and resources to encourage a more integrated workforce system that will encourage applicants to provide an innovative mix of training strategies, leveraging innovative modes of training delivery, including online, distance and other technology-enabled learning.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is challenging communities to think as ‘One Workforce,’” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch. “In the current job environment, it is critical that local organizations work as one instead of independent parts of a process. Our goal is to create seamless community partnerships to build career pathways for local job seekers to enter middle- to high-skilled occupations in cyber security, advanced manufacturing, and transportation sectors.”

Public-private partnerships will leverage resources across federal, state and local funding streams as well as from the private sector to support training, employment services and supportive services to maximize access to employment opportunities. These partnerships will together to develop a skilled workforce within an economic region. All applicant organizations must demonstrate that they are leveraging at least 25 percent of the total amount of the grant funds requested.

Four types of organizations are eligible to apply:

  • Businesses, business-related nonprofit organizations, such as industry and trade associations, and organizations functioning as a workforce intermediary for the express purpose of serving the needs of an industry;
  • Education and training providers, including community colleges, other community-based organizations, and for-profit educational and training institutions;
  • Entities involved in administering the public workforce system established under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; and
  • Economic development agencies.

To receive training assistance through this program, individuals must be at least 17 years old and not currently enrolled in secondary school within a local educational agency. They may be unemployed, underemployed individuals seeking full-time employment, as well as incumbent workers needing to update or upskill to retain employment or advance into middle- to high-skilled positions. US military veterans, military spouses and transitioning service members will receive priority of service.