The federal government provides millions of dollars every year to help workers find the training they need to further their careers. These government retraining grants are generally distributed to state and local agencies that match the needs of their communities with the needs of local employers. Most of the time you will have to contact local agencies to find out what grant options are available to you. An overview of federal grant money and how it is distributed, however, should give you an idea of where to start.
Community-based Job Training Grants
These grants are designed to help community colleges train their students to enter careers identified as high-growth and highly skilled, according to the United States Department of Labor. They provide money to help community colleges develop training curricula with the local industry, hire qualified faculty, arrange on-the-job training and provide up-to-date equipment. They are also supposed to help train new and experienced workers acquire the skills they need to enter high growth and highly skilled industries. Students who receive training funded by one of these grants are required to acquire credentials recognized by their professional field.
The National Farm Worker Jobs Program
The National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) provides job training and employment assistance to migrant and seasonal farm workers. The program provides grants to community-based organizations and public agencies that help migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families acquire job skills that may help them earn higher wages and achieve more stable careers. These competitive grants are administered by the Employment and Training Administration. The money can pay for classroom and on-the-job training, as well as supportive services such as nutrition, health, child care and temporary shelter. The grants are not available to individuals.
Grants for Green Job Training
The 2009 Workforce Reinvestment Act set aside $500 million of the $750 million it earmarked for workforce retraining for careers in the energy efficiency and the renewable energy sector. The Employment and Training Administration planned to target, among other workers, those in auto and auto-related jobs. The grants were expected to be distributed to state workforce training agencies, national labor-management organizations with local networks, community- and faith-based organizations, among other organizations that could demonstrate their ability to target and train workers who could benefit from the program. Like other federal workforce retraining grants, this grant was not planned to be distributed to individuals.
Grants for Health Care Workers
The rest of the Workforce Reinvestment Act money, $250 million, was set aside for grants to projects that train workers in the healthcare sector, according to the Department of Labor. As of this writing, the distribution schedule for these grants was still under development, but the Department of Labor advised interested agencies to check for opportunities at grants.gov.
- United States Department of Labor: ETA Services to Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers
- United States Department of Labor: Recovery Act Competitive Job Training Grants
- United States Department of Labor: Training and Workforce Notice, May 15, 2009
- United States Department of Labor: Community-based Job Training Grant Solicitation FAQs
Elaine Severs is an award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally since 2001. She has written about politics, health, education, travel and general interest topics for several newspapers and travel guides, including the "New York Times" and Insight Travel Guides. She has a Master of Science in journalism from Columbia University.