Kansas applicants hope for chance to revamp workforce development programs with Good Jobs Challenge

Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 3:41 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Four Kansas applicants are hoping for the chance to revamp their workforce development programs with the Good Jobs Challenge.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration says it received 509 applications, four of which are from Kansas, for the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge program.

Kansas applicants include:

Iowa Tribe of Kansas and NebraskaIowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska Fiber Training Academy
Kansas Department of CommerceKansas Good Jobs Challenge - Industry Resource Networks and Statewide Workforce Development Training Program
University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc.Cybersecurity Workforce and Education Resiliency Coalition (CyberWORC)
Workforce Alliance of South Central KansasAviation MRO Expansion Initiative (AMEI)

The EDA said applicants indicate a significant interest from a range of stakeholders in communities across the nation. It said applications were received from partnerships in every state and territory and applicant partnerships are made up of State, local and Tribal governments, Higher Education Institutions, non-profit organizations and organized labor.

“The Biden Administration is committed to developing employer-driven partnerships that respond to the talent and training needs of companies across the country while also leading to good-paying jobs for the American people,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The Good Jobs Challenge will connect workforce training programs with industries and businesses to create a pipeline of skilled workers and help remove barriers for Americans to access good-paying jobs through training and wrap-around services.”

Together, the EDA said applicants show a strong commitment to supporting underserved communities and groups with barriers to employment. It said high interest in the program indicates the need for workforce development opportunities for communities, workers and businesses throughout the nation.

According to the Department, the Good Jobs Challenge is meant to help Americans get back to work through the development of holistic regional workforce systems with strong sectoral and employer partnerships leading to good-paying jobs.

The EDA said the $500 million investment will build and strengthen workforce systems and industry partnerships to provide new chances for workforce development of in-demand skills that lead to good-paying jobs in high-demand fields.

By ensuring equity is a top priority and investing in wraparound services, the EDA said the investment will focus on taking down barriers to training, especially for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, including women and people of color.

The Department anticipates making about 25 to 50 awards.

“The Good Jobs Challenge is designed to build a strong workforce, which will lead to a stronger economy,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The applicants represent hundreds of local partnerships dedicated to working together to create new opportunities and pathways towards financial security to lift up American workers with training and support that leads to good-paying jobs.”

On July 22, the EDA said Secretary Raimondo announced the Department would implement a series of programs, collectively named Investing in America’s Communities, to equitably invest the $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act to help communities across the nation to build back better.

The agency said the American Rescue Plan EDA investment is the largest economic development initiative from the U.S. Department of Commerce in decades.

For more information about the Good Jobs Challenge, click HERE.

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