U.S. Department of Labor: Workforce Innovation Fund
The Workforce Innovation Fund supports innovative approaches that generate long-term improvements in the performance of the public workforce system, outcomes for job seekers and employers, and cost-effectiveness. The initiative is designed to strengthen public job training programs by: delivering employment and training services more efficiently and effectively, facilitating greater cooperation across workforce programs and funding streams, scaling best practices, and implementing rigorous evaluation techniques. Workforce Innovation Fund grants will invest in both the scaling of proven ideas and the development of promising ideas that are being implemented for the first time.
The Department of Labor intends to invest in projects that focus on change at both the service delivery and the system levels, while requiring rigorous evaluation of each investment. The lessons learned and findings from the Workforce Innovation grants will enable the department to contribute to the identification and documentation of evidence-based practices within the field of workforce development.
Three types of projects will be awarded:
- Project Type A: New and Untested Ideas – Grants awarded for Project Type A provide funding to support the development of service delivery or system reform ideas that are supported by a strong logic model but whose efficacy has not been systematically studied. Projects proposed under this category should support new and more effective strategies for addressing widely shared challenges, and proposals and project documents should clearly state how the reform is a departure from existing workforce strategies. Type A projects are innovative, relatively untested, and significant to the broader workforce investment system.
- Project Type B: Promising Ideas – Grants awarded for Project Type B provide funding to support structural and/or service delivery reform ideas that either 1) have been implemented and evaluated previously, where evaluation results indicate some potential for positive impacts on participant or system-wide outcomes; or 2) are supported by strong evidence of positive change, but have never before been implemented by the applicant.
- Project Type C: Adapting or Scaling Proven Ideas – Grants awarded for Project Type C provide funding to support significant expansion of structural and/or service delivery reform ideas that are supported by strong evidence of positive change from randomized controlled trial studies.
Amount: Approximately $53 million is available to fund 8-15 awards. Proposals under Project Type A must not exceed $3 million, and evaluation costs must be no less than 15 percent of the total grant award. Proposals under Project Type B must not exceed $6 million, and evaluation costs must be no less than 15 percent of the total grant award. Proposals under Project Type C must not exceed $12 million, and evaluation costs must be no less than 15 percent of the total grant award.
Eligibility: 1) State Workforce Agencies; 2) Local Workforce Investment Boards; and 3) entities eligible to apply for WIA Section 166 grants, including tribes and tribal consortia.
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