One of the critical questions posed by the current administration is: “How do we equip our workers with the skills needed to do the jobs of the 21st Century?” In an attempt to answer this question, while simultaneously addressing long-term unemployment, the Department of Labor (DOL) has made $150 million in competitive grants available to the Ready to Work Partnership.
Financed through fees paid to the H1-B nonimmigrant visa program, amounts of between $3million and $10 million are expected to be awarded to applicants (expected to range from 20 to 30) whose high-performing partnerships:
- focus on long-term unemployed worker re-employment
- incorporate work-based training—On-the-Job Training, paid work experience, paid internships, and registered apprenticeships
- involve strong employer engagement (with program design support) and who commit to consider hiring qualified program participants
Employer engagement and private sector involvement is a vital component of skill preparedness in the workplace. It is something that DOL Secretary Perez spoke to in his remarks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and something that is drawing increasing focus from the DOL and the current administration, especially in high-demand industries.
It is these “innovative partnerships between employers, nonprofit organizations and America’s public workforce system” that the Ready to Work Partnership grant is looking to award, support and scale. One of the existing caveats being that any grant applicant have three employers or a regional industry association involved in the project.
Ultimately, the grants are geared toward helping long-term unemployed workers achieve “earn while you learn” pathways to re-employment opportunities into middle- and high-skill jobs, while at the same time providing industries a pipeline of workers whose are skills tailored to fit needs.
Providing workers the requisite skills to be successful and competitive while allowing them to earn a living at the same time is a solid foundation for boosting productivity and morale while reducing turnover, making for an overall more profitable and streamlined endeavor.
KRA Corporation was also pleased to see that, similar to the Platform to Employment Program that the firm will be implementing in the Northcentral Region of Connecticut, part of the requirements for consideration calls for the incorporation of strategies that provide additional resources like assessments, job-placement assistance, training, mentoring, and other supportive services (such as financial counseling and behavioral health counseling).
KRA Corporation endorses those initiatives specifically designed to help address the skills imbalance while providing long-term unemployed workers the means to be successfully integrated back into the workforce. We have spent more than 3 decades staying on the cutting edge of workforce development practices and programs so that we remain fully equipped to prepare job seekers for tomorrow’s global economy while supplying employers with a trained and reliable workforce.
KRA Corporation remains committed to this mission and looks forward to this grant program successfully boosting the economy while investing in its most valuable resource—the U.S. worker.