Link to ARC home page.

Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative Pre-Application Webinars

May 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor is making funds available via the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) initiative to implement innovative approaches to provide enhanced training and support activities to dislocated workers, new entrants in the workforce, incumbent workers, and individuals affected by substance use disorder returning to work. Successful awards will support workforce development activities that prepare eligible participants for good jobs in high-demand occupations aligned with a state, regional, or community economic development strategy. Communities across Appalachia, especially those underserved by other resources, are encouraged to apply. The funding announcement can be found on the website. The closing date for receipt of applications under this announcement is July 29, 2020.

Pre-Application Webinars


A deeper review of technical details to know, including, SAM, and obtaining a DUNS number; page counts and file naming; Project Narrative vs. Optional Attachment A Proposal Summary; and eligibility (applicants, participants, and activities).
Recorded May 28, 2020


Tips on bringing partners together to manage the writing of a large and complex federal grant such as WORC. Will include tips and lessons learned from at least one current WORC grantee.
Recorded June 1, 2020


A deeper review of the requirements in the statement of need and strategic alignment section of the Project Narrative, including data points and potential (optional) sources, plans, and other resources.
Recorded June 2, 2020


Tips on how to “write to the FOA,” especially in the project description – pulling out language from the FOA and asking informal self-assessment questions to better frame a competitive narrative.
Recorded June 3, 2020


A deeper review of the requirements in the project results and sustainability section of the Project Narrative, including how to develop outputs and outcomes that are logically tied to the project description, considerations such as ensuring partners have a shared understanding of data definitions and responsibilities, and thinking about sustainability and long-term impact.
Recorded June 4, 2020


A walk-through of the SF-424 and 424A forms as well as the budget narrative requirements, eligible expenses, indirect rates, and funding restrictions.
Recorded June 5, 2020


A walk-through of format and technical requirements of Attachment A, the optional form to use in lieu of the Project Narrative.
Recorded June 8, 2020

Other Webinar Opportunities

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) hosted technical assistance webinars on May 19, 2020, and May 21, 2020. More information about these workshops is available on the DRA website.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) hosted a webinar on Friday, May 29, 2020 to discuss the requirements of the grant application. More information about the webinar is available on the WorkforceGPS website.

WORC Overview

The WORC Initiative is designed to facilitate the alignment of workforce development efforts with existing economic development strategies in rural communities hard hit by economic transition and recovering slowly. The purpose of this program is to demonstrate the alignment of regionally driven, comprehensive approaches to addressing economic distress and the necessary workforce development activities to ensure a workforce capable of succeeding in current and future job opportunities. 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 in diversifying their economies by investing in local strategies developed by regional partners. This long-term view also acknowledges the impact of the opioid crisis and the significant challenges it presents to a community’s workforce. To address these challenges, ETA encourages applicants to include within their applications strategies to address the employment and training needs of individuals affected by substance use disorder in their communities.

As mentioned, the goal of this grant opportunity is to create economic prosperity and gainful employment opportunities for eligible residents in impacted ARC and DRA regions, enabling them to remain and thrive in these communities. Successful applicants must demonstrate coordinated workforce strategies in the ARC and DRA regions and help the regions achieve long-term economic success. Successful applications will propose projects including all of the following Objectives:

Objective 1: Implement innovative, sustainable service delivery strategies to address economic and workforce-related impacts within each of the regions;

Objective 2: Provide or facilitate the provision of new or enhanced training, job placement and support activities to the following eligible participants: dislocated workers (including displaced homemakers), new entrants in the workforce, and incumbent workers (including eligible individuals within those cohorts that may be affected by substance use disorder [e.g., opioids, stimulants, cocaine, and other substances]) who reside in ARC and DRA regions;

Objective 3: Align and integrate workforce development activities with existing state, regional, or community economic development strategies;

Objective 4: Develop and expand partnerships, including industry partnerships that build and sustain capacity, maximize available resources, and establish community-based approaches for addressing workforce challenges and industry needs in the ARC and DRA regions; and

Objective 5: Provide or facilitate delivery of support services to assist employers and industry in meeting workforce challenges and industry needs in the ARC and DRA regions.

Successful applicants will demonstrate clear strategies to provide needed career, training, and support services to eligible individuals in counties, parishes, and/or areas currently underserved by other resources, so they may secure good jobs in stable, high-demand occupations. Eligible individuals served under this grant include dislocated workers, new entrants to the workforce, and incumbent workers. Applicants are encouraged to incorporate strategies that support eligible individuals impacted by substance use disorder; ETA anticipates at least $5 million will go to grants that include support for individuals impacted by substance use disorder.

Grant Information

Grants Notice Announcement
Previous Grant Awards