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The details of a $150 million grant competition to help people experiencing long-term unemployment obtain jobs and training were unveiled by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on Feb. 19, 2014.
The Ready to Work Partnership grants will be financed by a user fee that employers pay to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. Through the programs funded by the grants, employers will have the opportunity to train workers in specific skill sets using methods such as on-the-job training, paid work experience, paid internships and registered apprenticeships. Programs will recruit those who have been out of work for six months or longer and will incorporate a strong upfront assessment, allowing for a customization of services and training to make it easier to help participants re-enter the workforce.
Approximately 20 to 30 grants ranging from $3 million to $10 million will be awarded to programs focused on employer engagement, individualized counseling, job-placement assistance and work-based training that better enable employers to hire Americans for jobs they currently fill with foreign workers on H-1B visas.
“These grants are part of President Obama’s call to action to help ensure that America continues to be a magnet for middle-class jobs and business investment,” said Perez in a press call. “We need to do everything we can to help employers expand and grow while, at the same time, remembering that those who have been out of work through no fault of their own deserve a fair shot.”
As a precondition for potential funding, a project must involve at least three employers or a regional industry association. Prospective applicants are encouraged to view additional online resources. Any organization that meets the requirements of the solicitation may apply. The Solicitation for Grant Applications, which includes information about how to apply, is available at http://www.grants.gov/.
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