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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $11 Million to Boost Blue Economy and Clean Energy Workforce Training Program in Hampton Roads Region 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 – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today is announcing the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding an $11 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Norfolk, Virginia, for the Hampton Roads Workforce Training System for Good Jobs, to build a regional talent pipeline focused on the blue economy, clean energy, and related cybersecurity.

This program brings together large employers and community-based organizations to create a training program to grow the in-demand blue economy and clean energy industries across counties in Virginia and North Carolina. In addition, the program will establish training pathways in coordination with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to increase career opportunities for workers in maritime engineering and robotics.

“President Biden is committed to developing a sustainable blue economy and accelerating the clean energy sector,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This program will create a pathway to boost the industry with trained, skilled workers to support and grow these critical industries.”

“The Economic Development Administration works directly with communities to create locally-led economic development strategies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The Hampton Roads Workforce Training System will partner with local employers to ensure blue economy and clean energy workers receive the skills needed to secure a good job.”

“Virginia is home to an amazing and diverse workforce,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I’m proud that these grants will help tap into the incredible talent pool that makes up the Commonwealth. By empowering workers to develop their skills into environmentally-friendly trades, we are showcasing that Virginia is truly open for business.”

“As we continue to build green energy infrastructure to drive down costs for American consumers, we need skilled workers who are able to take on these jobs,” said Senator Mark Warner. “I am thrilled to see this investment in the Hampton Roads Workforce Council that will help prepare our capable and diverse workforce for jobs in the emerging energy industry.”

“We’ve made a lot of economic progress since the Biden Administration took office, and it’s critical that we continue to build on that by growing our workforce and economy,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “I’m glad the Hampton Roads Workforce Council is receiving federal funding to help more Virginians access job training programs and find good-paying jobs in high-demand fields like clean energy and cybersecurity. I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impacts this funding will have on the local economy and will keep working to bring more resources like these to Virginia.”

“This more than $11 million investment in Coastal Virginia will create opportunities and support jobs throughout Coastal Virginia, including for our veterans and military families,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02). “I will continue to support federal investment in our workforce, and I want to congratulate the Hampton Roads Workforce Council on this award.”

“For years, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council has been a national leader in helping workers gain the basic skills they need to access new jobs. Now, through this $11 million investment, the Workforce Council will be able to move beyond the currently available entry-level programs by strengthening and expanding access to advanced job training,” said Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03). “Simply put, the Good Jobs Challenge grant will help workers gain advanced skills that lead to long-term, rewarding careers, and ensure businesses have skilled professionals on the job. This is just one part of our shared commitment – from the Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional Democrats – to supporting America’s workforce development.”

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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