Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) - American Cities Climate Challenge
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Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC)

Federal Agency


Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC); Delta Regional Authority (DRA)


To demonstrate the alignment of regionally driven, comprehensive approaches to addressing economic distress and the necessary workforce development activities to ensure dislocated and other workers in the regions are capable of succeeding in current and future job opportunities. This program focused on serving communities in the Appalachian and Delta regions.

Applicant and/or Project Eligibility Requirements

Eligible individuals served under this grant include dislocated workers, new entrants to the workforce, and incumbent workers. Applicants are encouraged to incorporate strategies that achieve economic opportunity and address historical inequities. ‚Äč

Decarbonization Considerations

These grants help communities create tangible strategies to prepare for new supply chains, clean energy manufacturing, and workforce training. 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 the Appalachian and Delta regions opportunities to create regionally and locally tailored training.

Equity Considerations

Successful long-term economic growth strategies build upon bottom-up, community-led plans that promote economic resilience and maximize regional strengths. The WORC Initiative grants take a long-term view toward assisting eligible communities, including those energy communities that currently or historically have had a high concentration of employment in energy extraction and related industries, in diversifying their economies by investing in developing a skilled workforce through training and other approaches that aligns with local strategies developed by regional partners.

Helpful Tips

Partnerships that leverage existing educational programs or industry collaborations are heavily encouraged. Regional consortia and public-private partnerships are viewed particularly favorably and also highlight a range of strengths and non-federal leverage. Consider inviting DOL staff to participate in specific roundtables or community events with your regional team to get their input directly as you build momentum for funding support.

Other Notes

ARC and DRA will provide technical assistance to prospective applicants in their regions, as well as assistance and support to grantees throughout the life of the program.

Deadline (Announced or Anticipated)

July 21, 2021

Funding Available


Max Award Amount


Expected Allocations


Average Award (Estimated)


Matching Funds

Not required

Go to Program Website