Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DOL Releases Green Job Grant Solicitations

The Department of Labor (DOL) today released five Solicitations for Grant Applications to award approximately $500 million in green jobs-related, competitive grants as provided for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As it indicated in May, the DOL will award these funds through five different grant competitions that closely track programs authorized by the Green Jobs Act of 2007. The competition deadlines range from August 5 to October 20, 2009. While these grants are not as targeted to community colleges as we would have liked, there are opportunities for community colleges. As with the formula Workforce Investment Act funds provided through ARRA, however, colleges will need to reach out to potential partners at the state and local levels.

Three of the grant competitions are of particular interest to community colleges. The Energy Training Partnership Grants will total $100 million, funding 20-30 projects at $2 - 5 million each. This program will award grants to workforce development projects that focus on connecting target populations, including auto and auto-related industry workers affected by significant automotive-related restructurings (a $25 million set aside), to career pathways in green industries as defined in the Green Jobs Act. These industries include energy efficient construction, renewable electric power, energy efficient drive trains, biofuels, and others. Awards will be made to two distinct categories of grantees: national labor-management organizations with local networks and state and local nonprofit partnerships. The partnerships must include representatives from labor organizations, local workforce investment boards and One Stop Career Centers, and industry. DOL strongly encourages the partnerships to include other entities, including educational institutions such as community colleges. The deadline for this competition is September 4. There will be a webinar for prospective grantees on July 13, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. See the grant solicitation for further details.

The Pathways Out of Poverty program will grant $150 million to national nonprofits with local affiliates and local entities, including public organizations such as community colleges and private nonprofit organizations. Grant awards for the national entities will range from $3 to 8 million and those for local grantees will range from $2 to 4 million. The grants will fund projects that provide training and placement services to provide pathways out of poverty into employment in the same group of industries targeted by the Energy Training Partnership Grants. These grants are targeted to unemployed individuals, high-school dropouts, individuals with a criminal record and disadvantaged people within a high-poverty area. The application deadline for this program is September 29, and the webinar for prospective grantees is taking place on July 14, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. See the grant solicitation for further details.

The State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants will award $190 million to state Workforce Investment Boards. State WIBs will use the funds to coordinate and implement state-wide, integrated job training and placement plans to serve the industry sectors described above. The State WIBs must put together a partnership that includes representatives from the state workforce agency, local WIBs, other state cabinet agencies that received ARRA funding for green jobs related activities, the targeted industries and labor organizations. The partnerships are also encouraged to include the education and training community among others. The application deadline for this program is October 20. A prerecorded webinar will be available by July 10. See the grant solicitation for further details.

The State Labor Market Information Improvement Grants will award $50 million to state workforce agencies to collect, analyze and disseminate labor market information about and enhance the labor exchange infrastructure for the targeted green industries. The Green Capacity Building Grants will award $5 million to active DOL-funded grantees in particular programs to ensure that targeted groups are prepared to help meet the needs of green industries. Community colleges are involved in some of these programs, but not heavily. The full list is available in the solicitation.