Recent legislation has provided funding for technical training and workforce development, providing opportunities for your school’s CTE programs to benefit in preparing your eager and innovative students for the workforce.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law COVID-19 pandemic relief legislation, under which the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) “was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.”
Here is a breakdown of the programs, what the funding looks like, and how your school can take advantage.
Do you need help applying for funds appropriate to your program? Contact us today!
New Programs Announced by the EDA
As a result of this legislation, the EDA announced six new programs, all aimed at “putting Americans back to work in communities across the country.” Despite signs of a growing economic recovery, there are still roughly 7 million fewer jobs now than before the pandemic began. These programs, and their funding, are:
- Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion)
- Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million)
- Economic Adjustment Assistance Challenge ($500 million)
- Indigenous Communities Challenge ($100 million)
- Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grants ($750 million)
- Statewide Planning, Research and Networks Grants ($90 million)
The two programs to know for schools and other educational facilities are the Build Back Better Regional Challenge and the Good Jobs Challenge. Both of these programs will have the most impact on technical training and workforce development.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge
According to the EDA website, “[t]he Build Back Better Regional Challenge is designed to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.” It will invest in industries surrounding planning, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to capital, and more.
Eligible organizations can apply for these funds now. The program consists of two phases:
- In Phase 1, “50-60 regional coalitions of partnering entities will be awarded [approximately] $500,000 in technical assistance funds to develop and support three to eight projects to grow a regional growth cluster.” The Phase 1 deadline is October 19, 2021.
- In Phase 2, “EDA will award 20-30 regional coalitions $25 million to $75 million, and up to $100 million, to implement those projects.” The Phase 2 deadline is March 15, 2022.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is an excellent opportunity for higher education institutions to partner with local industries and community workforce development programs to implement new technical training programs that would prepare your students for the workforce.
The Good Jobs Challenge
As stated on the EDA website, the “Good Jobs Challenge aims to get Americans back to work by building and strengthening systems and partnerships that bring together employers who have hiring needs with other key entities to train workers with in-demand skills that lead to good-paying jobs.” It intends to create and implement industry-led training programs designed to remove structural barriers that many American workers face.
Funds set aside for the Good Jobs Challenge will go toward proposals in three different phases, as regional needs dictate:
- System Development: “Help establish and develop a regional workforce training system comprising multiple sector partnerships.”
- Program Design: “Develop the skills training curriculum and materials, and secure technical expertise needed to train workers.”
- Program Implementation: “Implement non-construction projects needed to provide workforce training and connect workers with quality jobs, including wrap-around services.”
Under this program, your school could gain the resources needed to better align your technical training programs with the needs of regional employers, preparing your students for the careers around them.
How to Apply for the EDA Funding
If you’re an instructor or an administrator for a higher education institution, you are eligible to apply for part of this funding! One of our experts can help you explore options that fit your unique situation. Applications for these EDA funds are now available online at the eda.gov and grants.gov websites, and we can help you plan each step. Contact us today!