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DRA Launches New Workforce Development Initiative

The Delta Workforce Program will help train the next generation of workforce, create jobs, and increase economic competitiveness throughout the region.

CLARKSDALE, MS – Today, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) launched the Delta Workforce Program, an initiative designed to support workforce training and education, build long-term community capacity, and increase economic competitiveness across the Mississippi River Delta region and Alabama Black Belt.

DRA is committed to investing in communities to support job seekers, incumbent workers, and local industry to foster comprehensive economic development” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell. “Through the Delta Workforce Program, we’re working alongside our federal partners to ensure rural communities have access to critical resources in order to strengthen their workforce, create jobs, and improve quality of life across the Delta and Appalachia”

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), approximately $28.5 million in Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grants will become available in May 2019 to support workforce training and education in rural communities across the Delta and Appalachian regions. To complement the federal partnership, DRA will host two technical assistance workshops, make $1.5 million in grants available in July 2019, and offer post-award technical assistance to grantees.

Communities and regions that have been negatively impacted by economic transition and recovered more slowly can apply for resources to help build their workforce pipelines and strengthen their economies. The Delta Workforce Program will help support industry-driven job training and re-employment opportunities, align workforce and economic development strategies, and establish or enhance regionally significant public-private partnerships.

“I am proud of the work that the Delta Regional Authority is doing in Alabama, and the launch of the Delta Workforce Program is excellent news,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). “Qualifying communities across Alabama, particularly those in rural areas, will have access to this new federal grant funding intended to enhance workforce development and sustainable employment opportunities.”

“Rural communities face a unique set of challenges when it comes to promoting economic development and meeting workforce needs,” said Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). “The Delta Workforce Program will provide targeted support to strengthen local economies and help people get the skills they need to compete. I’m pleased to have prioritized funding for the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grants in the appropriations subcommittee I chair. I’m committed to making sure rural areas have the tools and resources they need to take advantage of the opportunities that come with a growing economy.”

Additional information about the Delta Workforce Program, including important dates, technical assistance workshops, and application information, is available at

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. DRA has approved investments of more than $211 million into more than 1,200 projects. Overall, DRA investments have estimated outcomes since 2002 that will create and retain more than 60,000 jobs, train nearly 54,000 workers to advance in the 21st Century and deliver sewer and water improvements to 400,000 residents and businesses. Learn more at

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