Connecting the right worker with the right job is key to our vision of opportunity for all. At the Labor Department, it’s how we’re working to help more people punch their ticket to the middle class.
That’s why we’re investing in proven strategies that connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs. As part of this effort, in April, we announced the availability of funds through a new Job-Driven National Emergency Grants program to help dislocated workers who have lost a job through no fault of their own.
And this week, I am very excited to announce the awards – nearly $155 million to 32 states, Puerto Rico and the Cherokee Tribal Nation – to help fund work-based training programs, like Registered Apprenticeship and on-the-job training, which have a proven record of success. That’s $155 million to give workers the chance to “learn and earn,” developing skills while earning a paycheck. With on-the-job training, employers who participate can use this funding to offset the cost of training and temporarily cover a portion of the wages for the people they hire.
We know these programs work. Earlier this year, I met with Gary Locke from New Hampshire, who – after being laid off for more than a year – found a job through the state’s innovative on-the-job training program. The funds we’ve announced this week will expand programs that helped Gary to more states around the country.
Nevada, for example, will use its award to contract with the WorkPlace, creator of the Platform to Employment program, to help long-term unemployed workers in the Las Vegas and Reno areas. This public-private partnership provides case management and employment services for long-term unemployed workers, and then places those workers in jobs for an eight-week trial period, after which participating employers have the option to offer them permanent positions. The program has already proven successful in Connecticut, and Nevada will use it to help place individuals in jobs in high-demand industries like aerospace, clean energy, health care and manufacturing.
Missouri will provide on-the-job training “Navigators” at their workforce centers, who will specifically target their state’s long-term unemployed residents, meet with them to assess their skills and training needs, offer job coaching opportunities and identify specific apprenticeship or on-the-job training opportunities.
Providing access to the skills required for in-demand jobs helps workers to thrive and businesses to grow. We know that job-driven training programs work, and that they’re often the best way to provide real ladders of opportunity. These awards will help states establish or expand programs that can change people’s lives.