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Workforce Investment News Archive

SBA Announces 50 Winners of the First Growth Accelerator Fund Competition; Kauffman Foundation Releases Case Study on
Sep 16, 2014
The U.S. Small Business Administration has recently announced, after reviewing more than 800 applications, the 50 winners of the first Growth Accelerator Fund competition. The recipients represent 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The accelerators come from a broad set of industries and sectors - from manufacturing to tech start-ups to farming as well as a focus on a diversified range of demographic groups.

Winners were selected by a panel of seven judges who are experts in entrepreneurship, investing and business plans both inside and out of the federal government. The judges reviewed the applications and pitch videos submitted by the 100 finalists in the competition.

Each organization will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA. In accepting these funds, the accelerators will also be committing to quarterly reporting for one year. They will be required to report metrics such as jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained among other pieces of information. This will allow the SBA to create a useful database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. There are entrepreneurial activities taking place in all 50 states, but some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others.

News Release / Listing of Winning Applications

The Kauffman Foundation has released a study which examines connections and relationships that help communities maximize job-creating potential of young and growing companies. "Examining the Connections within the Startup Ecosystem: A Case Study of St. Louis," released on September 10 by the Foundation, reports on the elements necessary for creating a nurturing entrepreneurial environment. Most important, it found, are the connections and relationships that pull support organizations, new entrepreneurs and experienced entrepreneurs together in a way that helps founders get the mentoring and information that most benefits the company at its particular stage of development.

Click here for the new release. Click here for access to the study.

Also see:

OSHA Awards Safety and Health Grants under the Susan Harwood Training Program; Seeks Nominations for Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health
Sep 11, 2014
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today awarded $10,687,000 million through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program to 78 nonprofit organizations, including community- and faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor-management associations, and colleges and universities. The program provides grants to fund education and training for workers and employers to help them recognize workplace safety and health hazards, implement injury and illness prevention measures, and inform them of their rights and responsibilities.

The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program supports safety and health training programs that educate workers and employers in industries with high injury, illness and fatality rates; underserved youth; limited English proficiency and other vulnerable workers; and small businesses. The award categories for fiscal year 2014 grants were: Targeted Topic Training, including Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building Pilot and Capacity Building Developmental, including one-year follow-on grants to recipients from Fiscal Year 2013.

The training grant program is named in honor of Susan Harwood, a former director of the Office of Risk Assessment in OSHA's former Directorate of Health Standards, who passed away in 1996.

News Release / Listing of Grantees, Type of Grant, and Amounts

Through a notice in the September 9 FEDERAL REGISTER, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health invites interested individuals to submit "rolling" nominations for membership on the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH), and announces the new procedures for the "rolling" nominations. This notice also announces the appointment of six individuals to serve on FACOSH.

Federal Agencies to Host Live Stream Dialogue on Career Pathways (September 23); Invite Broad Participation from the Public Workforce System
Sep 9, 2014
On behalf of the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, the public workforce system is invited to participate in the National Dialogue on Career Pathways to be held on September 23, 2014. This important event will bring national attention to the critical role career pathways systems play in creating a strong economy where workers can gain the skills needed for good jobs and employers can hire workers with the skills they need. The meeting will be available via live stream broadcast at http://prg.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/f1574e1999094289ab581d5b834de4d91d.

The meeting will feature messages from our federal agency leaders on the importance of career pathways as a job driven training strategy. During the day's meeting, you will also hear presentations and panel discussions from some of the nation's leading state and local area career pathways practitioners providing insight into their experiences and promising practices, ranging from cross-agency partnership building to innovative strategies to help students, workers, and businesses. In addition, there will also be thought-provoking discussions with leading policy experts, business leaders, and philanthropists on the future of career pathways.

As you know, Vice President Joe Biden recently released his Ready to Work Report and outlined critical strategies, like career pathways initiatives, to help Americans progress in their careers, obtain new skills training and earn credentials. Career pathways systems across the country support innovative partnerships between workforce agencies, education, health and human service agencies, and businesses to train workers with the skills that local and regional economies need to thrive. On the same day, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law. The WIOA presents an unprecedented opportunity to fully integrate career pathways approaches into state and local workforce systems across the country.

The National Dialogue on Career Pathways will highlight best practices while issuing a clear and measurable call to action to get more states and local areas involved in this work. At the end of the meeting, states, local areas, and discretionary grantees will receive special information about a new technical assistance opportunity to help them develop or expand their efforts around career pathways system building.

Among the featured speakers in the National Dialogue will be Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary for Labor's Employment and Training Administration; Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Education's Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education; Mark Greenburg, Acting Assistance Secretary for Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families. They will be joined by business leaders, including David L. Casey, Vice President for Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer at CVS Caremark and Maura Banta, Director of Global Citizenship Initiatives at IBM USA, who will provide keynote presentations during the event.

ETA is encouraging agencies and Boards to make plans to view the event with your business and industry partners, workforce agency partners, and other key stakeholders and to participate through social media throughout the day. Please review the attached materials that will help you create a robust "Viewing Party" for the event. On the day of the event, please go to the Live Stream link http://prg.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/f1574e1999094289ab581d5b834de4d91d to view the National Dialogue for Career Pathways.

To help organize the event, a national Viewing Party Guide is also now available.

Before and during the event, you are encouraged to post questions on Twitter using the hashtag #careerpathways. The federal team will monitor your questions on Twitter and respond to them from the Labor Department Twitter account (@USDOL) during the event.

Suggested Social Media Posts:

Pre-event post: Join @USDOL @usedgov and @HHSGov on 9-23 @ 9:00 AM ET for a live stream plenary on #careerpathways.

Pre-event post: On 9-23 @ 9:00 AM ET, @USDOL @usedgov and @HHSGov will speak live about job-driven #careerpathways. Don't miss it!

Day-of post: Join @USDOL & colleagues today for a live stream plenary on #careerpathways. http://bit.ly/1gnGBOq

Day-of post: Join business leaders @cvscaremarkfyi's David Casey and @IBM's Maura Banta today via live stream @ National Dialogue! #careerpathways

Day-of post: America, let's talk about #careerpathways today! Share your thoughts with us @USDOL @usedgov and @HHSGov. Join the Dialogue.

Also see:

Career Pathways Community of Practice

FTA Announces Funding Opportunity to Promote Innovative Nationally and Regionally Significant Public Transportation Workforce Development Models and Programs
Sep 5, 2014
The Federal Transit Administration has announced a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. FTA will make available approximately $7.85 million in funds appropriated in Fiscal Year 2013 and Prior Years, in support of this effort. This NOFA solicits proposals that promote innovative nationally and regionally significant public transportation workforce development models and programs that invest in America's economic growth and help build ladders of opportunity into the middle class for American workers.

Complete proposals are due by November 4.

Excerpts from the NOFA:

  • Section 5322(b) of Title 49, United States Code authorizes FTA's discretionary Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program, pursuant to which FTA makes grants to transit agencies and other entities to undertake workforce development activities, including those that create employment training programs, increase minority and female employment in transit, conduct research on public transportation and training needs, and provide training and assistance for minority business opportunities. FTA plans to fund nationally or regionally significant public transportation workforce projects that will assist in building ladders of opportunity for American workers to move into the middle class, as well as build the critical skillset needed in the public transportation industry.

  • FTA is seeking projects that create a new nationally or regionally significant workforce development program, or augment or replicate a successful existing program that will have benefits for transit agencies or the transit industry. While either type of effort will be considered, programs or approaches with an existing track record of success are likely to receive significant consideration.

  • FTA is prioritizing applications that focus on one or more of the following activity areas:

  • targeting areas with high rates of unemployment;

    ensuring that persons in local communities directly benefit from employment opportunities created by the construction and operation of new transit capital projects or other public transportation activities within their region;

    providing career pathways that support the movement of targeted populations (e.g. new transit entrants and other underserved populations, etc.) from initial or short-term employment opportunities to sustainable careers;

    giving priority to minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, low income populations and other underserved populations;

    addressing gaps in areas with current or projected workforce shortages in fields related to public transportation;

    pre-employment training/preparation/tracking; and/or

    recruitment and hiring.

  • Eligible applicants are urban and rural transit agencies; state departments of transportation (DOTs) providing public transportation services; Metropolitan Planning Organizations; Indian Tribes; nonprofit institutions; institutions of higher education; and private corporations. Only these types of organizations are eligible to apply to this program. The cooperative agreement will be between FTA and the selected organization, which must have a substantial interest in the project and must not simply act as a pass-through for funds. Applicants may apply individually or in a consortium of eligible applicants. The consortium of eligible applicants must include a lead applicant as the primary recipient of federal funds.

  • FTA also is requiring that applications provide sufficient evidence of a partnership between the primary applicant and at least one other unrelated entity, such as an educational institution, a public workforce investment system, a labor organization or a non-profit organization. A primary applicant that is not a transit agency or consortium of transit agencies must partner with at least one transit agency. FTA will assess the strength of these partnerships in its evaluation of applications by contacting each partner to determine its level of involvement and financial commitment in the proposed application.
U.S. Department of Commerce Announces $15 Million Grant Competition to Spur Regional Innovation
Sep 5, 2014
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has announced the launch of the Economic Development Administration's (EDA) $15 million 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. Under this program, EDA is soliciting applications for three separate funding opportunities, including: the i6 Challenge, Science and Research Park Development grants, and cluster grants to support the development of Seed Capital Funds.

"President Obama and I are committed to strengthening American innovation, which is crucial for sustained economic growth and competitiveness," said Secretary Pritzker. "The EDA Regional Innovation Strategies Program announced today, which builds on the highly successful i6 Challenge, will help spur innovation through the development and strengthening of regional innovation clusters. Innovation clusters strengthen communities by creating good jobs and growing regional economies nationwide."

"EDA helps foster connected, innovation-centric economic sectors to support commercialization and entrepreneurship, including through regional innovation clusters," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. "EDA's new funding opportunity will provide more communities and regions with the resources they need to help local businesses start and grow. Specifically, EDA will help regions across the country develop regional innovation strategies, including proof of concept and commercialization centers, feasibility studies for the creation and expansion of science and research parks, and opportunities to close the funding gap for early-stage companies. This new funding opportunity is also an important component of the Administration's commitment to build globally competitive regions."

The 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program originally started as the Regional Innovation Program under the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act of 2010. This year's program includes $15 million in funding for the following programs:

  • i6 Challenge ($8M): Launched in 2010 as part of the Startup America Initiative, the i6 Challenge is a national competition based on the most impactful national models for startup creation, innovation, and commercialization. The 2014 i6 has been broadened to include growing or expanding existing centers or programs and considering funding for later-stage Commercialization Centers, which provide opportunities for fine tuning and refinement of innovations. Special consideration will be given to programs which include initiatives focusing on innovative manufacturing and exports.

  • Science and Research Park Development Grants ($5M): The Science and Research Park Development grants program provides funding for feasibility and planning for the construction of new or expanded science or research parks, or the renovation of existing facilities.

    Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds ($2M): These cluster grants provide funding for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds that are offered to innovation-based, growth-oriented start-up companies in exchange for equity. Funds must include job creation in their consideration for issuing capital. Special consideration will be given for programs focused on innovative manufacturing and exporting.

    Applicants are encouraged to refer to the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for examples of both the i6 Challenge and Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds. There is no requirement for applicants to submit proposals for more than one of the funding opportunities under this program. Funding for all three programs is available to all communities regardless of level of distress. Eligibility, matching-fund requirements, application and submission deadlines, and other information can be found in the FFO for the program at: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=263990