US announces $150 million grant for training in H-1B jobs

Aimed at growing future workforce in IT, cyber security, advanced manufacturing and transportation.

In a bid to meet shortage of foreign H-1B workers, the US has announced $150 million in grants to invest in training for middle-to high-skilled H-1B occupations within key sectors in the US economy.

Funds under the H-1B One Workforce Grant Program will be available to upskill the present workforce and train a new generation of workers in sectors including information technology and cyber security, advanced manufacturing and transportation.

Announcing the grant program Thursday, the US Department of Labor said through local public/private partnerships, grantees will deploy training to provide individuals in their communities with skills necessary to advance career pathways to employment in middle- to high-skilled H-1B occupations within key industry sectors.

President Donald Trump in June suspended until the yearend the H-1B and several other categories of foreign work visas coveted by Indians, who have received as much as 70% of H-1B visas over the past five years.

Indian techies, outsourcing firms and US business leaders have all criticized the move saying it will block their ability to recruit critically needed skilled workers from foreign countries.

The coronavirus pandemic has not only caused disruptions in the labor market, but also forced many education and training providers and employers to rethink how to deliver training, the Labor Department said.

In this grant program, the Department’s Employment and Training Administration set out to streamline funding and resources to encourage a more integrated workforce system, it said.

READ: ‘You’re fired’, Trump warns executives hiring H-1B workers (August 4, 2020)

This will encourage applicants to provide an innovative mix of training strategies, leveraging innovative modes of training delivery, including online, distance and other technology-enabled learning.

Training models will include a broad range of classroom and on-the-job training, customized training, incumbent worker training, Registered Apprenticeship Programs and Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs.

“The US Department of Labor is challenging communities to think as ‘One Workforce,’” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch.

READ: New Trump Executive Order limits H-1B workers in federal contracting jobs (August 4, 2020)

“In the current job environment, it is critical that local organizations work as one instead of independent parts of a process.”

“Our goal is to create seamless community partnerships to build career pathways for local job seekers to enter middle- to high-skilled occupations in cyber security, advanced manufacturing, and transportation sectors,” he said.

Public-private partnerships will leverage resources across federal, state and local funding streams, as well as from the private sector to support training, employment services and supportive services to maximize access to employment opportunities, the announcement said.

These partnerships will work toward a coordinated approach to preparing a skilled workforce within an economic region.

All applicants must demonstrate that they are leveraging at least 25 percent of the total amount of the grant funds requested.

The following four types of organizations qualify as eligible lead applicants:

  • Businesses, business-related nonprofit organizations, such as industry and trade associations, and organizations functioning as a workforce intermediary for the express purpose of serving the needs of an industry;
  • Education and training providers, including community colleges, other community-based organizations, and for-profit educational and training institutions;
  • Entities involved in administering the public workforce system established under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; and
  • Economic development agencies.

RELATED: H-1B archive

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