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Department Of Commerce Announces $500 Million Investment In Jobs Initiative

The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will implement a series of programs, collectively called Investing in America’s Communities, to invest the $3 billion it received from the American Rescue Plan Act. The EDA investment is the largest economic development initiative from the Department of Commerce in decades.

EDA’s American Rescue Plan includes the Good Jobs Challenge which aims to get Americans back to work by building and strengthening systems and partnerships that bring together employers who have hiring needs with other key entities to train workers with in-demand skills that lead to good-paying jobs.

Through the Good Jobs Challenge, EDA is allocating $500 million to collaborative skills training systems and programs. EDA encourages efforts to reach historically underserved populations and areas, communities of color, women, and other groups facing labor market barriers such as persons with disabilities, disconnected youth, individuals in recovery, individuals with past criminal records, including justice impacted and reentry participants, serving trainees participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and veterans and military spouses.

These systems and partnerships will create and implement industry-led training programs, designed to provide skills for and connect unemployed or underemployed workers to existing and emerging job opportunities. Ultimately, these systems are designed to train workers with the skills to secure a union job or a quality job that provides good pay, benefits, and growth opportunities.

EDA will fund proposals within the following three phases, as applicable to regional needs:

  1. System Development
    Help establish and develop a regional workforce training system comprised of multiple sector partnerships
  2. Program Design
    Develop the skills training curriculum and materials, and secure technical expertise needed to train workers
  3. Program Implementation
    Implement non-construction projects needed to provide workforce training and connect workers with quality jobs, including wrap-around services

The Good Jobs Challenge is designed to support the needs of an applicant’s identified regional workforce system through a single integrated award. EDA will make awards to either the System Lead Entity of a regional workforce system or the Backbone Organization of a sectoral partnership as the lead applicant. These organizations may make subawards to other eligible recipients as necessary to the proposed project and as approved by EDA.

Eligible applicants for EDA’s Good Jobs Challenge include a(n):

  • District Organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State

Notices of Funding Opportunity for each program will be released shortly. Please visit for the latest news and announcements about EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs.