Mayor Article

Department of Labor Awards Grants to Train Workers for High-Skill Jobs

By Joan Crigger

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded $12.4 million in grants to train American workers for high-skill jobs in places where companies are facing labor shortages in those fields.  The grants are funded by a portion of the $500 fee employers pay for each visa to import temporary workers from other countries.

According to Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, The two fields where we see the most applications for foreign workers are information technology and health care.  We have to address the skill shortages and ensure that American Workers have the first opportunity for these high-paying jobs.

The grants will provide training for 3,000 workers and were awarded to the following agencies:

Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Springfield, MA, $1.5 million; NOVA Private Industry Council, Sunnyvale, CA, $1.3 million; Pima County Community Services Department, Tucson, AZ, $1.4 million; City of Chicago, $1.5 million; Seattle-King County Private Industry Council, $1.5 million; the Workplace, Inc., Bridgeport, CT, $1.5 million; Philadelphia Workforce Development Corp., Inc., $563,057; New Hampshire Job Training Council, Concord, $1.5 million; Prince Georges Workforce Services Corp., Landover, MD, $1.5 million.

The so-called H-1-B visa is a six-year, temporary visa for foreigners with college degrees.  A $500 fee is required for each visa.  Employers have increasingly used this program as demand for information technology workers grow.

The Labor Department will issue another $40 million in skills grants to communities around the country in the coming months.


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