To Aid Workers Displaced by Pandemic, Department of Labor Adds $90M in Grants

A woman training to be a technician, repairman or worker in a factory.
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The U.S. Department of Labor added an additional $90 million in grant money to help boost the employment prospects of various groups of Americans impacted by the COVID-19.

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In a statement issued on Thursday, the DOL said the extra funds will be used to provide reemployment opportunities for displaced workers, historically marginalized communities or groups, and those unemployed for an extended period or who have used up their unemployment insurance or other pandemic-related unemployment insurance programs.

The investment more than doubles the initial $43 million in funding that was originally announced in June. The grants — officially called CAREER National Dislocated Worker Grants — are administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration.

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“By doubling down on these critical investments, the Department of Labor reinforces its commitment to invest in strategies to help American workers get the services and training they need to secure quality jobs as our economy recovers,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine. “These grants focus on local innovation and put resources in our communities to ensure the workers most impacted by the pandemic get reemployment support to ensure an equitable recovery.”

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These kinds of programs could prove particularly beneficial to low-wage workers who still haven’t been able to find employment despite recent improvements in the nation’s overall job market.

Jobs for workers with annual incomes below $27,000 were down about 22% as of July 23 compared with mid-January 2020, according to data from Opportunity Insights, an economic research initiative based at Harvard University. In contrast, workers who make more than $60,000 a year experienced 10% job growth over the same time period, while those who earn $27,000 to $60,000 saw job growth of more than 3%.

Read: Jobless Insurance Claims Finally Fall To Pandemic Low
Learn: Are ‘Bridge Jobs’ a Good Idea To Cover Career Gaps?

People seeking CAREER National Dislocated Worker Grants can apply through Aug. 31 and choose one of two types of required grant activities:

  • Delivering comprehensive workforce services, including career, training and supportive services to help participants gain employment.
  • Purchasing, building or expanding virtual technology platforms, software systems or services for job search, career guidance, training or other allowable activities.

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Last updated: August 20, 2021

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte MagazineStreet & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, will be published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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