The Futures Institute

Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities

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Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities

About

Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC): A Grant Initiative for the Appalachian and Delta Regions is a grant focused on economic development strategies in rural communities that are recovering slowly from being hard hit by economic transition. This grant supports developing local and regional workforce development solutions aligned with existing economic development strategies and community partnerships to promote new, sustainable job opportunities and long-term economic vitality. These grants support workforce development activities that prepare dislocated workers, new entrants to the workforce, and incumbent workers for good jobs in high-demand occupations aligned with a regional or community economic development strategy.

Eligible Uses

Primarily workforce development programs and economic strategic planning.

Grant Award

Up to $1,500,000

Eligible
Recipients

Local organizations and institutions of higher education located in the Appalachian and Delta Regions

Restrictions

Quarterly narrative performance reports are required.

Due Date

This grant has been repeated in the past.

Agency

Department of Labor

Materials Needed

Unknown

Application Difficulty

Unknown

Evidence on Investments in Financial Security and Employment

Financial security is another critical component of safety—not only because financial security and employment opportunities help people address their basic needs, but also because these investments have been shown to increase safety. One study showed that emergency financial assistance for those experiencing economic insecurity reduced total arrests, including a 51 percent reduction in arrests for violent crimes. Short-term financial assistance has been shown to decrease violence and crime. And decreasing unemployment has been shown to reduce property crime. Offering workforce development for industry-based credentials in locally growing fields (such as health care, manufacturing, and IT) reduced the likelihood that program participants with prior criminal records would be rearrested by about 40 percent. 

A study of data in both the US And UK found that increasing the availability of well-paid entry-level jobs when a young person is entering the job market could have a lasting impact on their likelihood of committing future crimes. Increasing youth employment, such as through summer jobs programs, has been found to reduce violent crime by up to 43 percent—with long-lasting, positive effects.  Unemployment insurance (UI) provides a crucial safety net that promotes household well-being, and generous UI benefits may lower local property and violent crime rates. UI may also minimize adverse contact between the unemployed and the criminal-legal system, including by decreasing the likelihood of arrest and any corresponding inability to afford court imposed fines and fees following conviction. However, the benefits of our nation’s patchwork of unemployment insurance programs are distributed unequally, with Black workers 24 percent less likely to receive unemployment insurance than their white counterparts over the last 30 years.

It is common sense that improving economic conditions will make communities safer—and this conclusion is born out in the research. Ensuring that individuals and families have the resources they need to thrive not only meets a safety goal in and of itself, but also has a dramatic impact on rates of violence and harm. 

Grant Writing Resources

Grants.Gov Resources

Applicant Training Videos (step-by-step guide on how to find grants, set up an account on grants.gov, and submit an application)

Applicant FAQ page

Other Resources

Community Toolbox’s Applying For Grants Toolkit (Outline of process + example applications)

FAQs

Q: What is community safety? 

A: We use the term “community safety” as well as “non-carceral safety” to indicate an approach to reducing violence and harm that invests in people over punishment. This can include unarmed civilian first responders and community violence prevention, but must also center preventative and root-caused focused solutions such as investments in schools, healthcare, and the environment. These solutions not only create holistic safety by improving well-being, they have been directly tied to reductions in violence. 

Q: How do the grants in the American Rescue Plan and other recent bills fit into this database? 

A: This database contains grants contained both in specific legislation (like the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, and the Inflation Reduction act) but it focuses primarily on grants funded annually through the federal budget process. Please see our resources specifically on ARPA and IIJA for more information on funding opportunities in those bills. 

Q: Where should I go if I have additional questions? 

A: Feel free to reach out to samwashington@civilrightscorps.org with questions or comments. If you’d like to suggest a grant, please fill out this form

 

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