On December 17th, the Department of Labor announced the availability of $25,000,000 in grants under the Strengthening Working Families (SWF) Initiative. The Initiative will award up to $4,000,000 in funds to partnerships between the workforce development system, education providers (including community colleges, community based organizations, and tech boot camps), child care providers and employers.
Funded by H-1B visa funds, the program is intended to address barriers related to child care that workers face in maintaining employment and engaging in training. Applicants will be required to show their partnership’s capacity to improve access to child care resources in a way that supports both parents’ current attachment to the workforce and benefits the long-term success of the child. The grants may offer recipients the chance to support career pathways in their region, as required under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), by funding services that improve access to child-care services, a key element of many career pathways.
Partnerships are required to include at least three employer partners or an employer industry association with at least three employer members. As states and regions set up and expand industry or sector partnerships, as required under WIOA, these partnerships may be integral for applicants’ success under the SWF Initiative.
This grant program is an element of the Administration’s Job-Driven Action Plan, which includes goals to maximize the use of limited resources by creating new or expanding existing partnerships between key workforce stakeholders and to provide critical supportive services to ensure all individuals can succeed in the labor market.