Communities across the country are gearing up for new Department of Labor competitive grant opportunities that are being released early this year in areas such as healthcare and green careers, prisoner reentry, and transitional jobs. To promote these opportunities and make them accessible to as wide a range of organizations and communities as possible, my office partnered with Joshua DuBois and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to hold a national conference call last week. We were joined by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration Jane Oates who provided information on 10 grant competitions.
Amazingly, we had 842 phone lines activated for the call. Given that in many cases multiple people listened in on the same phone line, we likely had over 1,000 participants! This overwhelming interest in employment and training grants highlights the intense focus of communities across the country on jobs and job training. On the call, we emphasized the value of partnerships in these grant programs and encouraged faith-based and community organizations to join forces with others in their communities and regions to apply as partnerships or consortia. A partnership model can significantly strengthen programs by leveraging the varied expertise of large and small organizations in areas such as job training, case management, supportive services, employer outreach and more. Additionally, partnerships allow smaller, grassroots organizations to participate in larger programs that they lack the organizational capacity to apply for directly.
Four of the 10 grants discussed are currently open for competition with closing dates in March and April. They include the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders, Civic Justice Corps, Green Jobs Innovation Fund, and Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program. Descriptions and links to the full applications can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/dol/grants. The six grants that were previewed include a Transitional Jobs program for non-custodial parents and ex-offenders, Career Pathways, and the Young Parents Demonstration program. These grants will be announced in the coming weeks.
We took about 20 questions from participants on the call but we unfortunately ran out of time with an additional 46 participants in the queue. I have encouraged those individuals to email their questions to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply as quickly as we can.
Ben Seigel serves as Associate Director at the Department of Labor’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.