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10 public-private partnerships awarded $20 million to support American manufacturing and encourage investment in the US

Investments will promote job creation and economic growth in local industry clusters in Ariz., Calif., Mich., NY, Okla., Ore., Pa., Tenn. and Wash.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced on October 10 that 10 public-private partnerships across America will receive $20 million in total awards to help revitalize American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States.

The 10 partnerships were selected through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, which is a competitive multi-agency grant process announced in May 2012 to support initiatives that strengthen advanced manufacturing at the local level. These public-private partnerships consist of small and large businesses, colleges, nonprofits and other local stakeholders that "cluster" in a particular area. The funds will help the winning clusters support local efforts to spur job creation through a variety of projects, including initiatives that connect innovative small suppliers with large companies, link research with the startups that can commercialize new ideas, and train workers with skills that firms need to capitalize on business opportunities.

The Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is a partnership among the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Science Foundation.

In order to create an economy built to last, America needs to make more things the rest of the world wants to buy. After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the deep recession, the economy has added nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs since February 2010 — the strongest period of sustained job growth since the 1990s. While there's more work to be done, steps like today's announcement build on this momentum.

"By partnering across the federal government, these grants will help us leverage resources and ensure that training programs for advanced manufacturing careers provide the skills, certifications and credentials that employers want to see from day one," Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said.

"A strong manufacturing base in America is critical to the health of the U.S. economy, and these awards further demonstrate the Obama administration's commitment to keeping this country on the cutting edge of innovation in manufacturing," said acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank. "This investment will help accelerate and unleash the most promising ideas in advanced manufacturing, and bring those ideas to market. This will lead to good jobs for American workers, increase the nation's competitiveness, and strengthen an economy that's built to last."

The awards will help regional clusters grow by strengthening their connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets, helping develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce, increasing exports, encouraging the development of small businesses, and accelerating innovation in technology. The 10 winning initiatives — based in Arizona, California, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington — will each receive approximately $2 million to fund projects that are expected to train a total of 1,000 workers and help nearly 650 companies leverage a cluster's resources in their regions and create jobs across the country.

"As part of President Obama's blueprint for an economy built to last, the Energy Department is investing in innovative, public-private initiatives like the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge that support the pillars of American energy, American manufacturing and skills for American workers," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "These investments are helping America strengthen our competitive edge and leadership in the global manufacturing sector."

"The SBA pioneered the federal government's first regional cluster strategy two years ago, and we've already seen the tangible benefits of these investments, including job creation, innovation and increased competitiveness," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "These 10 new advanced manufacturing jobs and innovation accelerators are proof that we can continue to build on — and complement — the success that we've already achieved and support strong ecosystems of small businesses in targeted regions throughout the country and across key industries. Additionally, by supporting our small innovative manufacturing companies, we are fostering the growth of the American supply chain and creating an economy built to last."

As part of President Obama's commitment to creating an economy built to last, the administration has invested more than $200 million promoting regional innovation clusters. The administration created an interagency task force, known as the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters, to develop and administer interagency grant competitions. This is the third round of the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge and, in addition to the six partnering agencies, this initiative leverages technical assistance from up to eight other federal agencies.

The 10 winners announced today are:

*      Arizona: growing the Southern Arizona Aerospace and Defense Region, a project of the Arizona Commerce Authority ($1,817,000).

*      California: Advanced Manufacturing Medical/Biosciences Pipeline for Economic Development, a project of Contra Costa County, Manex, the University of California — Berkley, Laney College and the Northern California Small Business Development Center at Humboldt State University ($2,190,779).

*      Michigan: Innovation Realization: Building and Supporting an Advanced Contract Manufacturing Cluster in Southeast Michigan, a project of the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences and Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation ($2,191,962).

*      New York: a Proposal to Accelerate Innovations in Advanced Manufacturing of Thermal and Environmental Control Systems, a project of Syracuse University, NYSTAR, the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Onondaga Community College ($1,889,890).

*      New York: Rochester Regional Optics, Photonics and Imaging Accelerator, a project of the University of Rochester, NYSTAR and High Tech Rochester Inc. ($1,889,936).

*      Oklahoma: Manufacturing Improvement Program for the Oil and Gas Industry Supply Chain and Marketing Cluster, a project of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Center for International Trade and Development at Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Application Engineer Program ($1,941,999).

*      Pennsylvania: Agile Electro-Mechanical Product Accelerator, a project of Innovation Works, the Catalyst Connection, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and the Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Investment Board ($1,862,150).

*      Pennsylvania: Greater Philadelphia Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Skills Accelerator, a project of the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center ($1,892,000).

*      Tennessee: AMP! — the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Center of East Tennessee, a project of Technology 2020, the Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pellissippi State Community College and the University of Tennessee ($2,391,778).

*      Washington and Oregon: Innovations in Advanced Materials and Metals, a project of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, Impact Washington, Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council and the Oregon Microenterprise Network ($1,792,221).


Utah and Arkansas honored by AIFE for UI Initiatives

The Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services have been named as co-winners of the Full Employment Award, given annually by the American Institute for Full Employment .  The winners have both developed innovative and impactful new ways to engage UI claimants in meaningful work search activities - Utah through a new universal online program and Arkansas through a rigorous new pilot of staff-assisted reemployment efforts.


Utah Department of Workforce  Services  - Online Claimant Overview & Evaluation System

Building on its existing online reemployment initiatives, Utah piloted and then implemented a program-wide engagement of UI claimants in required online job search assessments and learning workshops.  


Results.  In its pilot phase, with REA program claimants, Utah saw the following results.  Of the total claimants selected, 31.5% initially refused to complete the expanded requirements. However, upon sanction, Utah was able to re-engage 25%, who completed their work search assignment.  Claimants improved their job search preparedness scores from a D to a B average and completed over 1/3 more training modules than required. 


In July 2012, Utah expanded the idea statewide, engaging 92% of all UI claimants in its new program that assesses and directs claimants to engage in work search training and education.


This dynamic online overview and evaluation system is just one part of a comprehensive effort started in 2009 to retool Utah’s reemployment efforts.  The effort also includes complementary strategies of: 

  • A wage subsidy program that gives UI claimants an opportunity to get a foot in the door with a new employer by offering the employer $2,000 to take a chance on the claimant and provide on the-job training for three months;
  • New job matching software that uses AutoCoder software to improve the connectivity of Labor Market Information (“LMI”) with claimant job histories and job orders when matching claimant skills with job orders;
  • An REA grant which focuses on second tier profiled claimants that utilizes their WPRS program; and
  • An online eligibility review interview (ERI) that resulted in an increase from 3% to 17% in eligibility reviews at no additional administrative cost.


Arkansas Department of Workforce  Services – Reemployment Services (RES) Pilot Program

Building on their existing Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services Program, Arkansas implemented a RES Pilot Program to expedite return to work for it’s most likely to exhaust UI claimants. Launched in January 2012, the pilot focuses on reducing exhaustion rates, duration weeks and average benefits paid.  The pilot is operating in six of the state’s 33 offices and utilizes a selected control group for program metrics. 


Design.  Pilot participants are selected in the first five weeks of the claim and required to complete an online assessment to identify their knowledge, skills and abilities based on previous work experience.   The results of the assessment are used to identify alternative occupations available to the participant and potential job referrals. 


Participants are also required to engage in additional assessment activities to obtain either a skill readiness certificate or referral to adult education to improve basic skills.  Participants must also complete online job search skills learning.   


Finally, participants must complete up to five mandatory counseling appointments scheduled every two weeks.  Participants have a total of nine required appointments and missing an appointment results in the deferral of one week of UI benefits (maximum of nine weeks deferred).


Results.  In the first six months of the pilot, the program results have been strong.  To date, 1,227 claimants have been selected and 934 (75.5%) have participated in the program with the following results:

  • Average Duration Dropped 15.1%:  Participants – 14.3 weeks vs. Control Group -  16.1 weeks;
  • Exhaustion Rates Dropped 22.2%:  Participants – 28% vs. Control Group – 36%
  • Projected Benefit Savings:  $292,348


For more details on this year’s and past years’ awards, go to .



US DOL, Pilot States and ITSC Work to Connect UI Claimants to the Workforce System

In June 2012, Information Technology Support Center (ITSC) Assistant Technology Director Tom Kusnirik spoke to national experts from the private sector as well as key federal and state officials, at the Unemployment and Worker's Compensation (UWC) Conference in Denver, CO, on "Making the Vision Real: Connecting UI Claimants to the Workforce System."  The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and ITSC have been working closely with state and local Unemployment Insurance (UI) and workforce partners over the last several months to develop and implement a plan for improving the connection, both electronically and programmatically, of UI claimants to the workforce system. 

This project is part of ETA's national vision for service UI claimants as a key customer of the workforce investment system.  Through a national solicitation, New York, Mississippi, Oregon, Minnesota, and Idaho were awarded over $7.5 million in grants to support implementation of the national vision.  For more information on this effort, click here.


Career Pathways Webinar to Be Hosted by ACF on August 28 - Register Now!

The Office of Family Assistance in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families is pleased to announce a Webinar on supporting low-income individuals on a path to self-sufficiency by building stackable credentials.

Stackable Credentials and Career Pathway Opportunities for TANF Participants, August 28, 2012

The Webinar, "Stackable Credentials and Career Pathway Opportunities for TANF Participants" is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28, 2012, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT.

The Webinar is designed for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) agencies, workforce organizations, and other human services stakeholders, and will offer an overview of the strategies that can be used to provide low-income individuals with stackable credentials that will lead to long-term, sustainable employment. The Webinar will:

  • Feature information on what stackable credentials and career pathways are and how they can help low-income individuals achieve success;
  • Provide information on methods for stackable credential/career pathways program design as well as methods for integrating these components into transitional jobs and subsidized employment programs; and
  • Encourage collaboration between government agencies and community partners to better serve TANF participants.

Presenters include representatives from:

  • Jay Landau and Nancy Phillips, Heartland Human Care Services - Heartland Alliance.
  • Danielle Kressin, Judy Montrude, and Nola Speiser, Minnesota FastTRAC Initiative.
  • Liza Ehrlich, New York City Parks Opportunity Program (POP).
  • John House, Edmonds Community College.

Register for the Webinar Here.

The Welfare Peer TA Team

New Jersey Launches


Can New Jersey pair its many job-seeking residents with open job slots?

On last week, state and industry leaders unveiled a matchmaking website created by the state to pair job seekers and employers by skill sets — a cost-free service for users that took two years to create.

The new online portal, found at, may have to compete with bigger job-search sites online — and has bowed to the reality of listing jobs in New York and Philadelphia.

But officials who want to reduce the statewide jobless rate of 9.6 percent — the fifth highest among the states and the highest in the region — hope workers use the site to find careers where their skills are in demand — even in industries they had not considered.

"We want to look past the job title," said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who joined with PSE&G Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Izzo at the company's Newark headquarters to hail the state's foray into the job market. "With this resource, employers can focus on finding exact skills they need, rather than having to filter that for themselves."

The site allows employers to input job listings, sweep all job seekers' resumes for keywords to identify candidates and use the portal as a customized database for their in-house hiring process.

In a yearlong test run, more than 100,000 job seekers — many receiving state assistance — responded to mailed-in fliers asking them to upload their resumes.

Funded and created through a federal Department of Labor grant of $389,300 for its first two years, the site already lists 258,000 available jobs in or near New Jersey.

"We plan to continue using federal workforce development grants to continue the service in coming years," said Brian Murray, director of communications and marketing for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Guadagno said the portal also will include jobs within a 50-mile radius of the state — including New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland and all commutable regions. "We know that about 10 percent of the people in New Jersey work in other states," said Mary Ellen Clark, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which led the project's development.

The software used by the state for the multifunctional search portal can grab job listings from other free online job sites no matter where they originate, Clark said. The search engine had been provided for another use, but business and industry advocates have spent two years helping refine it, following a similar, but less-advanced, template for a state job site used in Kentucky.

Email: for more information on this story!

Young jobseekers in the UK can now visit inflatable pop-up job clubs

Young people in the United Kingdom looking for jobs or training will be able to search for opportunities when a mobile job club for 16-24-year-olds pops up across the borough beginning in November.

The inflatable Job Pod will be launched at The Buszy, the home of Make a Difference, a non-profit organization, on Thursday November 1, 2013 at 3pm.

The Job Pod contains ten iPad stations and a flat screen TV that will display available jobs, training courses and volunteering opportunities. Staff will also be on hand to offer advice on resume preparation and interview skills, help to apply for jobs online, and provide guidance on training courses and formal qualifications.

No appointment is necessary, sessions are free of charge and guidance and support are tailored to the needs of the individual.

The mobile Job Pod will be launched alongside the opening of a brand new fixed job club for 18-24-year-olds, which will run every Thursday from 3-5pm.

Together they join 17 job clubs currently being delivered by the workforce development council across Milton Keynes for people of all ages. Three of these are for young people over 16 and held at Spotlight Youth Centre in Bletchley, the Christian Foundation, Wolverton and the Moorlands Community Centre Beanhill.

Cllr Andy Dransfield, council member for children, said: “We are determined that all young people are offered the right advice and guidance to get into work. These job clubs will help young people stand on their own two feet.”

More information about the job clubs is available at

Operation Boots to Business to Train Transitioning Vets

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has launched a new program in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department to train transitioning servicemembers and veterans to help them become entrepreneurs and create jobs.

The national initiative, called Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, will be piloted first with the U.S. Marine Corps in four locations, at Quantico, VA.; Cherry Point, NC; Camp Pendleton, CA.; and Twenty-Nine Palms, CA. It will later be expanded nationwide during fiscal year 2013 to service members from all military branches.

"Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of our highest priorities," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a news release.

Each year, more than 250,000 servicemembers shift from the military to civilian life, and veterans often possess the skills, experience and leadership to start businesses, SBA noted in a news release.

In fact, 9 percent of small businesses are already owned by veterans, with the 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employing more than 5 million individuals. And veterans are more likely to be self-employed than those without military experience, SBA said.

Under the program, SBA will coordinate training and services at military bases nationwide through a face-to-face introductory entrepreneurship course. It will also provide comprehensive training materials geared to transitioning service members through a partnership with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

The U.S. Department of Labor has also launched several initiative to help veterans get back to work.  For more information, please go to

New OVAE Employability Skills Website Makes Its Debut

Many policymakers, educators, and employers are interested in employability skills as a critical component of preparing young people and adults both for the workforce and postsecondary education.  But just what are employability skills?  How can they be taught and assessed?

The Employability Skills Framework website [] is a central clearinghouse of resources on instruction and assessment for employability skills, including a common framework for employability skills. Using the interactive Framework, policymakers, practitioners in education and workforce training, and others can identify employability skills and compare the skills identified by various instructional standards and assessments; understand key considerations for selecting an employability skills assessment; create a customized assessment comparison worksheet; and view practical examples of employability skills instruction and assessment.  The site also contains links to federal resources relevant to employability skills.

The Employability Skills Framework was developed by MPR Associates for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education of the U.S. Department of Education, as part of the Support for States’ Employability Standards in Career and Technical and Adult Education project. 


US Labor Department awards over $20 million in grants to help homeless veterans

On July 2, Tthe U.S. Department of Labor awarded 90 grants totaling more than $20 million to fund job training and support services that will help more than 11,000 veterans succeed in civilian careers. The grants are being awarded through the department’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. 
“Americans who have served their country should not find themselves without a home,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The grants announced today will help these heroes find good jobs and take us one step closer to the goal of ending veteran homelessness altogether.”

The grants announced are second- and third-year awards to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations – including faith-based and community organizations – that demonstrated satisfactory performance during the past year. All 90 grants are awarded through the HVRP program, with some of the grants specifically set aside to serve formerly incarcerated veterans, and homeless female veterans and veterans with families. The grant recipients are familiar with the areas and populations they are serving.

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program grants provide occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance, including follow-up services. Grantees are expected to maximize available assistance and find good jobs for veterans by coordinating efforts and resources with the U.S. departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services, as well as other national, state and local agencies in accordance with the VA’s five-year plan to end homelessness for veterans and their families.

In June, Secretary Solis announced the award of 64 grants through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. Those grants – which are separate from the 90 receiving funds today – are first-year awards totaling more than $15 million and aimed at providing about 8,600 homeless veterans nationwide with job training.

More information on the Department of Labor’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans can be found at Named One of Best in Government

"Governments are complicated. Benefits are complicated," the Social Driver website blog observes. Fortunately, the blog adds, " is not complicated." Social Driver recognized the website as one of the five best government websites "that just work." provides access to important information about government benefits and allows the public to search assistance programs that fit their needs. The website is the product of a collaborative partnership of 17 federal agencies, with the U. S. Department of Labor as the managing partner. This year, is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Service Delivery Tip:  American Job Center staff may consider using the Web site with its customers as an enhanced core service.  Leave a comment and share your strategies for integrating the use of with your customers!


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