Selected Grant Resources for Workforce Development and Jobs Training in Response to COVID-19


Selected Grant Resources for Workforce
Development and Jobs Training in Response
to COVID-19

Updated March 19, 2021
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic significantly affected U.S. employment patterns.
The federal government has responded with new initiatives and flexibilities to improve the capacity of
workforce development and job training assistance programs to address changing labor market
This Insight describes selected federal assistance programs available to state, local, and tribal
governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions. It does not include information on
programs for individuals (e.g., scholarships, fellowships, unemployment benefits, or other individual
assistance programs).
Types of Federal Assistance
Many types of federal grant funding are awarded to states as formula grants or block grants; states,
territories and tribes make awards to sub-recipients to implement program objectives. Other federal
known as discretionary or project grants, may be awarded on a competitive basis directly to
beneficiaries. Finally, federal assistance can include cooperative agreements or technical assistance. For
general information on grant resources, see CRS Report RL34012, Resources for Grantseekers.
Selected Federal Assistance Resources
Department of Labor
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA; P.L. 113-128, as amended) is the primary federal
law supporting workforce development and training. The Department of Labor (DOL) allots WIOA
funding to states, which sub-allocate funding to local areas. According to DOL guidance, WIOA funding
may be used for COVID-19 response activities, such as internet technology for distance learning or
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training or “On-The-Job” training to place eligible participants in COVID-19-related manufacturing
industries (e.g., producing respiratory masks). Under WIOA’s demonstration authority, DOL awarded
Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants to expand online and technology-enhanced learning
in industries such as healthcare, logistics, and cybersecurity. State and local workforce development
may provide additional guidance on COVID-19-related workforce activities.
Dislocated Worker Grants Program
DOL competitively awards Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) to states and territories to provide
temporary employment for workers affected by national emergencies (including health), disasters, or
major economic dislocations. States may sub-grant DWG funding to local workforce development boards
or entities engaged in approved projects.
In response to COVID-19, DOL provided additional flexibilities for DWGs, including the use of funds for
COVID-19-related activities, like contact tracing.
See CRS In Focus IF11530, Dislocated Worker Activities in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity
Act (WIOA)

H-1B Skills Training Grants
DOL competitively awards two forms of H-1B Skills Training Grants to assist areas and sectors affected
by COVID-19. H-1B Rural Healthcare Grants support healthcare training in rural areas. H-1B One
Workforce Grants
support training in information technology, cybersecurity, manufacturing, and
transportation sectors. Because of pandemic-related disruptions, DOL encouraged H-1B Skills Training
grantees to provide online or technology-enhanced training.
Department of Education
Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant
The Department of Education (ED) competitively awards Reimagine Workforce Preparation grants to
states with high coronavirus burdens. The grant is intended to help individuals return to work through
short-term education, training or career pathway programs.
Perkins Career and Technical Education Act
Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act grants, administered by states and territories, fund
local secondary and postsecondary CTE providers. In response to the pandemic, ED has provided general
on using supplies to support distance learning and information specific to CTE programs.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Community Development Block Grant
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
may be used for workforce development activities. CDBG guidance discusses COVID-19-related eligible
activities, including job training to expand healthcare jobs. Additionally, CDBG-CV COVID-19 FAQs
discuss spending flexibilities. State and local CDBG administrators have discretion in determining
eligible funding uses. See CRS Insight IN11315, Community Development Block Grants and the CARES

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Department of Health and Human Services
Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant
The Department of Health and Human Services, Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant
supports health, clinical, and laboratory services; public education; and workforce training. The block
grant program is typically administered by state health departments.
Health Resources & Services Administration
The Health Resources & Services Administration, Bureau of Health Workforce provides funding
to schools and individuals through grants, scholarships, and loans. See COVID-19 Grantee
and COVID-19 Loan FAQs.
Indian Health Service Grants
Indian Health Service (IHS) programs provide grants to tribes, tribal organizations, and educational
institutions for expenses related to recruiting and training health professionals. For example, IHS
administers grant programs for colleges and universities to facilitate education in health professions.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funds public health efforts
to develop the behavioral health workforce. State agencies administer two noncompetitive block grants,
and SAMHSA administers competitive grants supporting workforce development. See the FY2020 and
FY2021 grants announcements.
Community Services Block Grant
The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) supports community-based activities designed to lessen
poverty and address employment, education, housing, and other needs. CSBG is administered by states.
See COVID-19 funding guidance.
Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture supports
agricultural workforce development through grants and other assistance to educational institutions. See
the COVID-19 resource guidance.
Rural Development
USDA Rural Development administers programs benefitting rural businesses and communities, including
workforce development activities. For example, Rural Business Development Grants support training and
technical assistance for rural businesses. See the COVID-19 page.

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Department of Commerce
Economic Development Administration
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance
provide economically distressed communities with resources to address economic needs,
including workforce development. See the COVID-19 page.
Economic Development Districts (EDDs) are multi-jurisdictional entities leading regional economic
development projects and planning processes. See the EDA’s directory to locate EDDs and other
resources by state, and CRS Insight IN11402, The Economic Development Administration’s Economic
Recovery Assistance for COVID-19 Impacted Communities

Federal Regional Commissions
Four active federal regional commissions and authorities support economic development, workforce
development, and other activities. For information on services areas and grants for the Appalachian
Regional Commission,
Delta Regional Authority, Denali Commission, and Northern Border Regional
see CRS Report R45997, Federal Regional Commissions and Authorities: Structural
Features and Function

Author Information

Abigail R. Overbay
Maria Kreiser
Senior Research Librarian
Senior Research Librarian

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