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imagesThe U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the availability of up to $150 million in funding through a new Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program to train workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own for jobs in high-demand industries.

These investments will help create or expand employer partnerships that provide opportunities for on-the-job training, Registered Apprenticeships   www.dol.eta.gov/ea    or other occupational training that results in an industry-recognized credential. Funding will also be used to provide services, such as coaching, counseling and direct job placement, which help connect laid-off workers, including the long-term unemployed, with available jobs.

Focusing funding on proven, job-driven training strategies is a key component of the Obama administration’s agenda to connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

In addition to expanding work-based learning strategies – which recent studies show increase employment and earnings outcomes – grantees will also develop strong partnerships between workforce and industry organizations and align services with other federal, state or local programs, such as Unemployment Insurance  http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/unemployment-insurance,  Workforce Investment Act  http://www.doleta.gov/usworkforce/wia/act.cfm,   and Trade Adjustment Assistance programs. Funds may also be used to implement innovative approaches, such as:

* Job coaching, navigation and job-matching models that help dislocated workers, particularly the long-term unemployed, receive the specialized services they need to rapidly re-enter the workforce;

* Using technology and social media to recruit participants, improve job search tools, provide distance learning opportunities, and effectively collect and disseminate labor market information;

* Specialized services for laid-off workers, such as financial counseling and one-on-one coaching; and

* Developing employer outcome measures to track employer satisfaction and success.

Up to $150 million in grants ranging from $500,000 to $6 million are being made available to states, territories and federally-recognized tribes through the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker National Reserve   www.cfda.gov  fund. Applications must be received by May 27 to be considered.