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Photo: Matthew Dembicki

  • Workforce development part of Commerce’s strategic plan
  • DOL training grants to help American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians

Workforce development part of Commerce’s strategic plan

The U.S. Commerce Department this week released its five-year strategic plan that includes expanding employer-drive education and training experiences as well as fostering practices to help employers develop a diverse, skilled workforce.

Part of that strategy includes the recently launched $500 million Good Jobs Challenge that will focus on developing quality career opportunities for historically underserved populations.

To encourage more manufacturing in the U.S., Commerce wants to develop five Manufacturing Innovation Institutes in 2023 as part of the growing multi-agency Manufacturing USA network, which brings together industry, academia and government to accelerate manufacturing innovation and commercialization. The Biden administration’s budget for fiscal year 2023 would provide the funding, and it also would expand the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program with a $125 million increase. The public-private partnership helps small and medium manufacturers stay competitive. Some of these collaborations include education and workforce development. MEP Centers represent a diverse group, with 58% incorporated as independent nonprofits, 29% working as part of a university, and 12% working either as part of a state or community college, according to a new survey.

Another part of Commerce’s strategic plan is to promote and support registered apprenticeships. The department said it also plans to provide clear, usable data on U.S. labor markets, learning options and outcomes.

DOL training grants to help American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced $71 million in available grants to provide training and employment assistance to American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

Approximately $57 million of the total will support jobs and employment training for adults. The remaining $14 million will serve Native American youth on or near reservations and in Alaska, Hawaii and Oklahoma. DOL will support about 167 grants, ranging from $20,000 to $6 million, to deliver services under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s Indian and Native American programs.

The grants will help to equip individuals in these communities with education, job search assistance and occupational skills training to improve their access to better jobs and increased wages, according to DOL. The department noted that American Indians and Alaska Natives have traditionally faced higher unemployment rates and lower workforce participation, and attained lower levels of education – subjecting them to lower wages, fewer career opportunities and a continued cycle of unemployment and poverty.

Eligible applicants include federally recognized Indian tribes and tribal organizations, Alaska Native-controlled organizations, Native Hawaiian-controlled organizations, Indian-controlled organizations that serve Indians, state-controlled organizations and consortia of eligible organizations.

The application deadline is May 6.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.