Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC)

The Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative, managed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), provides grant funds to support workforce development activities that prepare workers for good jobs in high-demand occupations in rural communities. Beginning with WORC Round 5 (2023), the Northern Border was added to the partnership with DOL, which also includes the Appalachian Regional Commission and The Delta Regional Authority.

NBRC partners with the Department of Labor to provide grantees with technical assistance to promote successful projects and strong outcomes for workers and businesses. Unlike other NBRC grant programs, the WORC Initiative is administered exclusively between the Department of Labor and NBRC. State Program Managers are not the primary support for applicants to the WORC program. Interested applicants are invited to submit questions to NBRC’s technical assistance provider, Chamberlin/Dunn at or  

The FOA for WORC Round 5 (2023) has been published and can be found by visiting this link:

Closing Date for Applications: June 13, 2023, submitted electronically no later than 11:59 pm Eastern Time
Estimated Total Program Funding :$44,200,000
Award Ceiling:$1,500,000
Award Floor:$150,000

WORC-funded grantees are meeting the goals of the initiative through a wide range of strategies, including:

  • The development of education, training, and work-based learning opportunities for new entrants, incumbent workers, and dislocated workers
  • Incentives and wraparound services that support the completion of training and placement in good jobs
  • Employer engagement, including the development of recovery-friendly ecosystems and support for employing other special populations

U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), and the NBRC, in collaboration with its technical assistance provider, Chamberlin/Dunn, have scheduled a series of WORC Round 5 webinars. These webinars will provide program details in support of the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) program, for which program materials are now available online. The program supports initiatives directed at workforce development partnerships in support of local and regional workforces’ employment and training needs, while also recognizing the need to expand access to supportive services. 

The first session will be hosted by the DoL: Potential Applicant Webinar Click Here to Watch Recording
Webinar will discuss several topics important to prospective applicants including eligibility, grant requirements and allowable activities, performance reporting, and application procedures.

Additionally, along with its technical assistance provider, Chamberlin/Dunn, the NBRC is hosting a technical assistance series for potential applicants in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, to address specific components of the 2023 WORC funding opportunity. This series of webinars will be held the weeks of May 15 and May 22. See registration links for each webinar in the descriptions below.

WORC Round 5 Session 1: WORC FOA Requirement Basics  Click Here to Watch Recording
An overview of eligible applicants and allowable categories of funding as well as technical details, requirements, and instructions for how to apply for the 2023 Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant opportunity, FOA-ETA-23-07.

WORC Round 5 Session 2: Application Components & Statement of Need  Click Here to Watch Recording
Breaks down the application components of the 2023 Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant opportunity, FOA-ETA-23-07, including sections, subsections, and scoring. Places special emphasis on the Statement of Need, a critical component of the Project Narrative.

WORC Round 5 Session 3: Tips & Lessons for Project Designs from 4 Years of WORC  Click Here to Watch Recording
Friday, May 19, 12:00-1:00 ET
Provides applicants with “unofficial” considerations regarding project design and budgeting decisions that impact project success, drawn from observations and lessons learned during the first four years of WORC implementation.

WORC Round 5 Session 4: Project Results and Achieving the Purpose  Click Here to Watch Recording
Tuesday, May 23, 12:00-1:00 ET
Explains the requirement for applicants to define Project Results and connection to core principles as part of their Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant applications, including definitions, examples, and tips for aligning activities, results, and sustainability.

WORC Round 5 Session 5: Budget Forms and Funding Limits for Allowable Activities  Click Here to Watch Recording
Wednesday, May 24, 2:00-3:00 ET (**Note different start time.**)
Reviews the requirements of the SF424, SF424-A, and the Budget Narrative, including cost categories and funding limits for certain allowable activities, for Rural Communities (WORC) grant opportunity, FOA-ETA-23-07.