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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $22.9 Million to Accelerate Education and Job Placement in Southwest Florida Through American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge

Competition Provides Once-In-A-Generation Funding to Locally Driven, Diverse Partnerships to Create and Develop Workforce Training Programs that Support Local Economies

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $22.9 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to the Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees, Fort Myers, Florida, to establish the Florida Gulf Coast University Southwest Florida Equitable Jobs Pipeline.

This program will accelerate credential attainment and job placement in four leading local industries: healthcare, manufacturing, education, and transportation, distribution, and logistics. With a focus on equity, this program will emphasize recruiting rural, Black, and Hispanic job seekers into pipelines that result in industry-recognized credentials and a career with local employers.

“The Biden-Harris Administration supports efforts to provide Americans with access to workforce development programs leading to quality, in-demand jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will provide education and job placement assistance to those communities traditionally underserved, creating a pipeline of skilled workers in several key industries.”

“The Good Jobs Challenge was designed to get Americans back to work by building and strengthening partnerships that bring together employers with hiring needs and other key entities to train workers with in-demand skills,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will support a partnership with several charitable organizations, providing wraparound support and design systems to meet the needs of underserved communities.”

This grant is funded through the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge. The program awarded grants to 32 worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country. The $500 million program is expanding opportunities for more Americans to access and secure good-paying jobs by investing in innovative approaches to advance worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships.

The 32 awardee projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants. By partnering with stakeholders such as labor unions, community colleges and industry, these projects will solve for local talent needs, increase the supply of trained workers and help workers secure jobs in 15 key industries that are essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development. Through a holistic, integrated partnership approach, these projects will provide tangible opportunities and security for American workers, focusing on serving and supporting a broad range of underserved communities and connecting workers with the training, skills, and support services needed to successfully secure a good job. For more information on the grantees, please visit our fact sheet. (PDF)

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs developed by EDA to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to 4 a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be more resilient to future economic shocks.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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