Greensboro, N.C.

A new competitive grant program will support local efforts to meet workforce challenges, Governor Roy Cooper announced today at the NCWorks Partnership Conference in Greensboro. The NCWorks Local Innovation Fund is part of Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready Initiative for getting North Carolina’s workforce ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The $2 million fund will give grants to communities to pilot innovative programs or adapt and replicate successful programs that address local or regional workforce issues.

"Helping North Carolina become job ready is critical for our people and our economy," Governor Cooper said. "This new grant program will help local communities pilot innovative workforce programs and replicate successful initiatives so they can flourish."

Gov. Cooper’s NC Job Ready workforce initiative is built on three core principles: skills and education attainment so North Carolinians are ready for jobs available now and in the future, employer leadership to remain relevant to evolving industry needs, and local innovation to take great ideas and apply them statewide. The NCWorks Local Innovation Fund will help local ideas take shape and scale existing programs to reach more job seekers and businesses.

The NCWorks Local Innovation Fund will support projects that do one or more of the following: address an underserved community or population currently disconnected from the education and workforce system; bring together diverse community organizations; increase educational attainment; and develop talent pipelines for in-demand, high-wage occupations.

To be eligible for grants, community teams must include the local workforce development board and should also include education, community, labor and business leaders.

Two types of grants will be available: One-year capacity grants of up to $100,000 to assist communities that need additional capacity building to strengthen partnerships, identify community needs and resources, and build local support; and two-year implementation grants of up to $400,000 to assist communities that already have a collaborative team and an innovative idea ready for implementation, and have built the local support needed to be successful.

The NCWorks Commission will administer the Local Innovation Fund. The 33-member Commission includes representatives from the business community, heads of state workforce agencies, educators and community leaders. The Commission, which is designated as the state’s Workforce Development Board under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, recommends policies and strategies to enable the state’s workforce and businesses to compete in the global economy.

For more information on the grant, application guidelines and materials and award timeline, visit www.nccommerce.com/local-innovation.

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