July 6, 2023

Workforce Development Woven Throughout EDA Investments

A strong workforce is foundational in growing the nation’s economy. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is proud to partner with communities and stakeholders across the country to invest federal dollars into workforce development efforts that not only meet today’s talent needs, but also builds pipelines for the jobs in industries of tomorrow and provides Americans with the dignity of work. 

Workforce development is woven throughout EDA’s investment portfolio as guided by our Investment Priorities and our key programs and funding opportunities provide multiple opportunities to bolster career and technical training programs. 

In FY 2022 alone, one-third of our agency’s award funding went toward workforce training – totaling $1.3 billion. Workforce investments were made in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. These investments are expected to create or save more than 250,000 jobs and generate $3.6 billion in private investment, according to grantee estimates. 

Just last week, EDA began accepting applications for Phase 1 of the Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program (Recompete Pilot Program). While not solely a workforce development program, the pilot program will invest $200 million in distressed communities to create and connect people to good jobs.   The program is based on the belief that with the right investments, key stakeholder partnership and shared economic development vision, all communities can have thriving economies with good jobs. This Pilot Program is unique as it will provide competitive, large, highly flexible grants based on community-driven strategies. President Biden’s commitment to bottom-up, middle-out growth requires we help equitably generate workforce opportunities throughout the nation that helps workers from every community and every educational level achieve their piece of the American Dream.  View the Notice of Funding Opportunity here. 

Good Jobs Challenge Programs Yield Success Stories 

Another EDA program – the Good Jobs Challenge – is already seeing results.  Last year, this American Rescue Plan program awarded $500 million to 32 industry-led workforce training partnerships. These partnerships have developed innovative approaches to workforce development, with the goal of creating job opportunities for more than 50,000 Americans.  

So far, hundreds of individuals have already completed training programs and have secured jobs through Good Jobs Challenge-funded programs. Among the wide array of success is a single mother who completed a program through the Maryland Department of Labor.  She credits the skills she learned with helping her to successfully interview with a local union. She began work the very next day in her dream career and is thrilled to have paid health insurance and essential union benefits for her family. 

Building Talent Pipelines for Innovation Economies 

Now in its third year, EDA’s STEM Talent Challenge seeks to increase the pipeline of talent that technology entrepreneurs need to grow their companies and raise capital. Later this summer, EDA will announce awards for the FY23 STEM Talent Challenge, a $4.5 million competition to provide funding for programs that help build robust STEM workforce in emerging and transformative sectors such as aerospace, aeronautics, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and others.  

Past STEM Talent Challenge grantees are building talent training systems to strengthen regional innovation economies. For example, the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia created the Quality Science Pathway Apprenticeship to provide a pathway to quality science careers through job training, certification and more. In Alaska, the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government is building upon employer partnerships in the semi-autonomous aeronautic industry to train Alaskan residents for high-wage jobs. And in Phoenix, Arizona, Chicanos Por La Causa provides virtual reality-based career trainings and opportunities.  You can learn about other past STEM Talent Challenge Grant Recipients here

EDA Resources to Bolster Workforce Training 

EDA’s entire suite of programs contributes to a strong American workforce. Our traditional Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance programs help communities advance their locally-developed workforce strategies. Public Works investments have helped build infrastructure for workforce training centers, while our most flexible funding program, Economic Adjustment Assistance, can be leveraged to support workforce programs in a variety of ways, including through equipment purchases. 

Additionally, EDA recently announced updates to its CEDS Content Guidelines to include Workforce Development as a key component. CEDS, Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, help to establish and maintain a robust economic ecosystem by providing a means to engage community leaders, leverage the involvement of the private sector, and establish a strategic blueprint for regional collaboration. Highlighting workforce development shows the importance of good jobs to healthy regional economies and successful businesses. 

EDA is committed to helping build a well-qualified workforce, to ensuring people can make a good living in places where they live, and to producing a skilled workforce, ensuring the United States is prepared to innovate, compete, and succeed in a 21st Century global economy.