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Manufacturers’ Job Training Gets a Federal Boost

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The Economic Development Administration has $3 billion to spend on job training—and manufacturers should start preparing now to attract some of that funding to their regions.

What’s happening: The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Biden in March, set aside $3 billion for a historic investment by the EDA in bottom-up economic development, according to a recent information session hosted by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the NAM.

  • Part of that money includes $500 million for the EDA’s Good Jobs Challenge, which helps fund job-training programs from design and development through implementation.

Applicants wanted: Applications for the funding—which can be spent by eligible recipients on a wide variety of expenses, including curriculum development, equipment purchases and training-facility leases—are due Jan. 26, 2022. (Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity here.)

“One of the key things we’re looking for in these proposals is a commitment to hire,” said EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Michele Chang. “We are in a time where we want to get folks back into jobs quickly.”

Who’s eligible? While nearly all types of public and private nonprofit groups are eligible, the EDA is seeking organizations that have strong credibility with employers and a proven track record of success.

  • How manufacturers can help: Raise this grant opportunity with your trusted economic development or workforce partner and encourage them to contact the MI at [email protected] to learn more.
  • A good fit: The EDA program is a natural fit for the MI’s efforts, according to MI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Gardner Carrick. As he put it, “We are all working to attract more individuals to manufacturing.”

Boot Camp: Those who want to put their best foot forward during the EDA application process should consider the MI Boot Camp. These eight coaching sessions, which will run from mid-September to mid-December, will include workshops, discussions and expert mentorship designed to help applicants compete for the funds.

  • The MI Boot Camp is provided free of charge, but attendees will be selected via an application process. Email [email protected] for more information and how to apply.

Why it matters: Manufacturers are dealing with a worrying lack of skilled workers. As of July, the industry had a total of 889,000 job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This vacuum could grow to 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a recent study by Deloitte and the MI—an excellent reason to expand training programs as fast as possible.

The last word: The MI encourages all those who meet eligibility requirements to apply for funds to support their job-training programs. Said Carrick: “The EDA has to be commended for what is really a very impressive grant program.”

Interested in more of the NAM and MI’s work to attract workers to the manufacturing industry? Check out our Creators Wanted campaign.

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