Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities

The Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative, managed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), provides enhanced training and support activities to dislocated workers, new entrants in the workforce, incumbent workers, and individuals affected by substance use disorder (SUD) returning to work in the Appalachian, Delta, and Northern Border regions. As part of WORC, ARC partners with the Department of Labor to develop comprehensive approaches addressing economic distress and workforce development activities throughout the Region. Successful WORC projects draw on long-term economic growth strategies, building on bottom-up, community-led plans maximizing economic resilience and regional strengths.

WORC’s Impact in Appalachia

Projects Supported
Counties Impacted

Since 2019, the Department of Labor has invested more than $80.7 million in 62 projects specifically preparing displaced workers for new opportunities in 288 counties across Appalachia through WORC. Together, these investments are projected to place 18,334 workers in new or enhanced jobs in construction, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing throughout the Region.

Investments in Action

Dataseam: Growing the IT Workforce in Eastern Kentucky

With WORC support, Dataseam’s Registered Apprenticeship in Information Technology has already prepared more than 30 high school students to pursue high-paying, stable careers in IT.

Featured Resources


Join Us Online

Join us on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, to learn more about this round of funding and how applicants can set themselves up for successful project implementation.


WORC Pre-Application Series

For the fourth year, ARC has sponsored the creation of a technical assistance series to break down components of the WORC funding opportunity. These videos cover several topics from the FOA  including eligibility, grant requirements and allowable activities, performance reporting, and application procedures.