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 returning to work in the Appalachian and Delta 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 $60.7 million in 48 projects specifically preparing displaced workers for new opportunities in 289 counties across Appalachia through WORC. Together, these investments are projected to place 16,508 workers in new or enhanced jobs in construction, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing throughout the Region.

Investments at WORC in Appalachia

Meet the Newest WORC Grantees

In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $17.2 million to 13 projects in 8 Appalachian states.