Workforce Development Initiative Process


Application Process

The WDI CFA process has been streamlined and simplified in order to respond to the pressing needs of our post-pandemic workforce and business community. This single-phase approval process is redesigned to quickly assess whether the project supports regional objectives identified by the REDC and to identify the appropriate funding options.

Use of Funds

In recognition of the varied workforce development challenges faced across the state, a range of projects will be eligible for funding under the Workforce Development Initiative. Particular focus for this round of funding will be on supporting strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ near-term workforce needs, address long-term industry needs, enhance flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, improve regional talent pipelines, and expand apprenticeships. 

Projects that support regionally significant industries in emerging fields with growing demands for jobs, including those in clean energy, life sciences, computer science, and advanced technologies or that support efforts to improve the economic security of women, young workers, and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement are a particular focus of the Workforce Development Initiative. All projects and activities must be consistent with the region’s workforce development plans.

Examples of potential uses of funds include:

  • Workforce attraction;
  • Support for company-based projects;
  • Formation of multiple employer consortia – especially in a common sector or industry cluster - that can benefit from shared training and other workforce development activities;
  • Direct support of companies in industry sectors targeted by the REDC;
  • Funds to support workforce development and innovation in college and university settings;
  • Creation of opportunities for populations which traditionally face barriers to career advancement, including women and young workers, individuals currently or formerly involved in the justice system, veterans, immigrants, refugees, and persons with special needs;
  • Projects addressing worker dislocation due to foreign competition;
  • Projects addressing the opportunities and challenges posed by automation, artificial intelligence and robotics;
  • Fees charged by approved training providers;
  • Educational activities that are part of job training and workforce preparation initiatives, particularly when focused on key local economic sectors;
  • Research on workforce needs, including employer surveys and market studies;
  • Development and operation of programs that award recognized credentials to program graduates (e.g., apprenticeships, certifications, etc.); and
  • Curriculum development for career- or job-specific purposes.

Review Criteria

Successful applicants will have a clearly articulated proposal that addresses a workforce problem faced by the region and a comprehensive implementation strategy. REDCs will review all applications to determine:

  • Whether the application aligns with REDC or statewide workforce development priorities, the REDC regional strategy, or a clearly defined local employer need; and
  • Whether the application has the potential for job placement.

At the same time, applications for funding will be evaluated by potential funding agencies based on some or all the following criteria:

  • The role of local and regional partners;
  • Project cost;
  • The extent of private and other public funds leveraged; 
  • Performance targets that are measurable and achievable;
  • Transferable nature of the training or accreditation; and
  • Description of any public/private partnerships and how they will expand workplace learning.