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Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC)

Federal Agency


Employment and Training Administration (ETA)


To create economic mobility, address historic inequities for marginalized communities of color, rural areas, and other underserved and underrepresented communities, and connect workers who live or work in the Appalachian, Delta, and Northern Border regions, to stable, high-quality, family-sustaining jobs, enabling them to remain and thrive in these communities.

Applicant and/or Project Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate collaboration with a strong and diverse community-wide coalition that includes: (1) At least two employers/industry representatives; (2) At least one State or Local Workforce Development Board; and (3) at least one community-based organization.

Decarbonization Considerations

These grants help communities create tangible strategies to prepare for new supply chains, clean energy manufacturing, and workforce training. For example, consider using planning funding to build partnerships that can accelerate the development of trained contractors for deep efficiency and electrification retrofits for commercial and residential buildings. Workforce development programs are not one-size-fits-all, and WORC offers communities in eligible regions opportunities to create regionally and locally tailored training.

Equity Considerations

The second Focus Area of the WORC Initiative is equity. For the WORC Initiative, this means that successful applicants will design programs that prioritize efforts to recruit, enroll, and help employ historically underserved workers adversely affected by persistent poverty, discrimination, or inequality, including, but not limited to, Black, Indigenous, people of color; LGBTQ+ individuals; women; veterans; individuals with disabilities; individuals without a college degree; individuals with substance use disorder; and justice-impacted individuals.

Helpful Tips

Projects must be built around three Focus Areas: 1. Increasing access to good jobs (wages of at least $15/hr); 2. Prioritizing equity; 3. Sustaining impact.

Other Notes

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) will provide technical assistance to prospective applicants in their regions, as well as assistance and support to grantees throughout the life of the program. See the awards by awards by state here:

Deadline (Announced or Anticipated)

June 20, 2024

Funding Available


Max Award Amount


Expected Allocations


Average Award (Estimated)


Matching Funds

Not required

Go to Program Website