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FAQ's WIRED Logo - Talent Driving Prosperity

What is the WIRED Initiative?

The WIRED Initiative is designed to support the development of a regional, integrated approach to workforce and economic development and education. The ultimate goal of WIRED is to expand employment and advancement opportunities for American workers and catalyze the creation of high-skill and high-wage jobs.

The Initiative will provide regions with funding, ongoing technical assistance and support from a group of experts to implement a transformational approach to their workforce and economic development systems at the regional level.

Individual grants will be awarded through a competitive grant solicitation.

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What is a region?

Economic regions do not typically correspond to political jurisdictions such as state, county, local workforce investment area or municipal boundaries. Similarly, state boundaries do not always match labor market areas as evidenced by New York City's tri-state area or the greater Kansas City area, among others. The WIRED Initiative will focus on labor market areas that are comprised of multiple jurisdictions within a state or across state borders.

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What roles do State and/or Local Workforce Investment Boards, employers, labor organizations, community colleges, and community and faith based organizations have in the WIRED Initiative?

Each of these entities - along with civic, investor, academia, entrepreneurial and philanthropic leaders - play a critical role in support of a regional economic vision by providing leadership and aligning and leveraging their respective activities, goods and resources. Through strong regional partnerships, they are encouraged to work with Governors on the application process and implementation of the WIRED Initiative.

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How much funding is available for each project?

The 13 1st generation WIRED regions were awarded $15 million over a three year period in February 2006.

In January 2007, the 2nd Generation Wired Regions were awarded an immediate investment of $500,000. This investment supports the development of a comprehensive implementation plan. Upon completion and acceptance of this plan, each region will receive an additional $4.5 million investment over a three year period.

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What is the funding source?

First and 2nd Generation WIRED regions are funded with H-1B fees as authorized under Sec. 414 (c) of the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-277, title IV), as amended.

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Will best practices be made available to the workforce and economic development systems?

A report on best practices and implementation tool kits will be compiled and disseminated widely to the workforce and economic development communities so that all regions, even those not selected to participate, will benefit from the WIRED Initiative.

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Will the WIRED Initiative have an evaluation component?

Yes. ETA will require that selected applicants participate in an overall evaluation of the WIRED Initiative. In applying for these grants, regions agree to cooperate in this evaluation. The evaluation will assess the impact of the initiative on regional prosperity. Impacts will be measured through performance based outcome metrics and recommendations for ongoing action will be presented to participating regions based on the performance results. The University of California at San Diego and the Berkeley Policy Associates have been selected as the evaluators for the WIRED Initiative.

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