Grant Details

Dislocated Worker Opportunity Grants

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    C - Funds little to no technology


    Department of Labor (DoL)


    The purpose of this program guidance is to provide an implementation framework for the National Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) program, including policies, priorities, and requirements. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) accepts applications in two categories: Disaster Recovery and Employment Recovery. Employment Recovery DWGs include DWGs for Dislocated Service Members.

    DWGs are time-limited funding assistance in response to major economic dislocations or other events that cause significant impact on states and local areas that exceed the capacity of existing formula funds and other relevant resources to address. ETA considers DWGs to be supplemental resources that provide flexibility to states and communities in responding to and recovering from unexpected events that cause large-scale job loss that exceed the capacity of the state or local area to address with formula resources. As such, ETA expects that projects funded with DWG resources be aligned with existing state and local strategic priorities, resources, and programs and not operated as stand-alone projects. Applicants should design and carry out DWG projects to operate in alignment with other state and local programs, including Rapid Response, layoff aversion, and the formula Dislocated Worker program and focused on addressing employment and training needs in states and local areas.

    Types of DWGs

    Disaster Recovery DWGs: Disaster Recovery DWGs provide disaster-relief and humanitarian assistance employment, as well as employment and training services, as appropriate, to minimize the employment and economic impact of declared disasters and emergency situations, in disaster-declared areas as defined in 20 CFR 687.110(b). DWG funds may also provide employment and training services to dislocated workers and other eligible participants. The following events are eligible for Disaster Recovery DWGs:

    • Emergencies and major disasters, as defined under Section 102 of the Stafford Act (42 U.S.C. 5122(6)), declared by FEMA as eligible for Public Assistance under any category (A through G).
    • Emergencies or disaster situations of national significance, natural or man-made, that could result in a potentially large loss of employment, as declared or otherwise recognized and issued in writing by the chief official of a Federal agency with jurisdiction over the Federal response to the disaster or emergency. Note: Not every Federal declaration of a disaster qualifies an applicant for Disaster Recovery DWG assistance. Applicants must demonstrate that a potentially large loss of employment could result from the disaster or emergency. ETA defines this as the potential loss of at least 50 jobs. The application for Disaster Recovery DWG funds must include a rationale justifying the projected level of job loss. WIOA does not allow declarations by a governor to qualify an applicant for Disaster Recovery DWG assistance.
    • Relocation of a substantial number of individuals from a state, tribal area, or outlying area affected by a disaster or emergency to other states, tribal areas, or outlying areas outside the disaster or emergency area.

    Allowable Grant Activities - Disaster Relief Employment. Disaster Recovery DWGs provide funding for the creation of disaster relief employment, which is temporary employment of eligible individuals for the purposes described in WIOA Section 170(b)(1)(B) and (d), as well as 20 CFR 687.180(b) and (c).1 Applicants must demonstrate that disaster-relief employment created under a Disaster Recovery DWG aligns with the following categories:

    • Clean-up and recovery efforts including demolition, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged and destroyed structures, facilities and lands located within the disaster area and in offshore areas related to the emergency or disaster; or,
    • Employment related to the delivery of appropriate humanitarian assistance in the immediate aftermath of the disaster or emergency; more information on humanitarian assistance is provided below.

    Employment Recovery DWGs: Employment Recovery DWGs provide resources to states and other eligible applicants to respond to major economic dislocations, such as large, unexpected layoff events that cause significant job losses. The Secretary of Labor has the discretion to award DWGs to eligible entities where the eligible entity can demonstrate the need for additional funds to provide employment and training assistance to workers affected by major economic dislocations, such as plant closures and mass layoffs. This also could include closures and realignments of military installations. ETA will examine each application on a case by-case basis to determine if the applicant has demonstrated need. Employment Recovery DWGs provide employment and training assistance to dislocated workers and other eligible participants as described below.

    Qualifying Layoff Events The following dislocation scenarios could qualify for Employment Recovery DWGs under 20 CFR 687.110(a).

    • Mass Layoff or Plant Closure. Layoffs or plant closures affecting 50 or more workers from one employer within the service area of the applicant may qualify for Mass Layoff or Plant Closure Employment Recovery DWGs. An applicant may include smaller layoffs at other companies in the area if the primary layoff caused or contributed to the smaller layoffs.
    • Industry-Wide Layoffs. Layoff events from multiple companies in the same industry, as determined by the two-digit code level in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), may qualify for Industry-Wide Employment Recovery DWGs. Additional layoffs affecting fewer than 50 workers may be included in an industry-wide DWG application when there is at least one company with a layoff affecting 50 or more workers included in the application, and the additional companies are in the same NAICS two-digit code level.
    • Community Impact. Multiple small dislocations occurring over a period of up to 12 months that have significantly increased the number of unemployed individuals in a regional or local workforce area may qualify for a Community Impact Employment Recovery DWG. Community impact grants typically serve rural areas where the employer base is predominantly smaller companies with fewer than 50 employees each, and where layoffs may not meet the definition of œmass layoffs noted above.

    Special Populations DWGs: One sub-type of Employment Recovery DWGs targets a specific population: DWGs for Dislocated Service Members. DWGs may provide assistance to areas where there is a higher-than-average demand for employment and training activities from dislocated military service members and dislocated military spouses that exceeds state and local resources for providing such activities.


    History of Funding

    None is available.

    Additional Information

    Disaster Recovery DWGs: Eligible Participants An individual eligible to receive services through a Disaster Recovery DWG must be one of the following, per 20 CFR 687.170(b):

    • temporarily or permanently laid off as a consequence of the disaster;
    • a dislocated worker as defined at 29 U.S.C. 3102(3)(15);
    • a long-term unemployed worker; or
    • a self-employed individual who became unemployed or significantly underemployed as a result of the disaster or emergency.

    Employment Recovery DWGs: Eligible Participants For most Employment Recovery DWGs, the following individuals are eligible to receive employment and training assistance:

    • a dislocated worker as defined in WIOA Section 3(15);
    • a civilian employee of the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy employed at a military installation that is being closed, or that will undergo realignment, within the next 24 months after the date of the determination of eligibility;
    • an individual who is employed in a non-managerial position with a Department of Defense contractor, who is determined by the Secretary of Defense to be at risk of termination from employment as a result of reductions in defense expenditures, and whose employer is converting operations from defense to nondefense applications in order to prevent worker layoffs; or
    • a member of the Armed Forces who:
      • was on active duty or full-time National Guard duty;
      • is involuntarily separated (as defined in section 1141 of title 10, United States Code) from active duty or full-time National Guard duty; or is separated from active duty or full-time National Guard duty pursuant to a special separation benefits program under 10 U.S.C. 1174a, or the voluntary separation incentive program under section 1175 of that title;
      • is not entitled to retired or retained pay incident to the separation described in Subclause b above; and
      • applies for employment and training assistance within 180 days of that separation.

    Special Populations DWGs: Eligible Participants Under 20 CFR 687.170(a)(1)(iv), eligible participants for DWGs for Dislocated Service Members include the eligible participants for Employment Recovery DWGs, as listed above, and also the following:

    • Dislocated members of the Armed Forces (service members who are transitioning to the civilian workforce), including recently-separated veterans. This includes all members of the Armed Forces who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.  
    • Dislocated spouses of members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including spouses who have experienced a loss of employment as a direct result of relocation to accommodate a permanent change in the service members duty station, or a spouse who:
      • is a dependent spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty whose family income is significantly reduced”as determined by statutes or policies of the state or local area for defining œsignificantly reduced” because of a deployment, a call or order to active duty, a permanent change of station, or the service-connected death or disability of the service member; and
      • is unemployed or underemployed and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment (see WIOA sections 3(15)(E) and 3(16)(A) and (B)); or
    • A member of the Armed Forces who4 :
      • was on active duty or full-time National Guard duty (as defined in 10 U.S.C. 1141) and is involuntarily separated, or is separated under the special separation benefits program at 10 U.S.C. 1174(a) or the voluntary separation incentive program at 10 U.S.C. 1175;
      • is not entitled to retired or retained pay incident to the separation; and
      • applies for employment and training assistance within 180 days of separation.

    ETA may develop additional categories and conduct limited competitions to meet particular needs of dislocated workers, as program funding allows. In such cases, ETA will issue a separate announcement and guidance.


    Jenifer McEnery

    Jenifer McEnery
    200 Constitution Ave. NW
    Washington, DC 20210
    (866) 487-2365

  • Eligibility Details

    Disaster Recovery DWGs: Eligible applicants for Disaster Recovery DWGs are the state, outlying area, or Indian tribal governments as defined by the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5122(6).

    Employment Recovery DWGs. States may sub-grant funds to local boards and/or may expend such funds through public and private agencies and organizations engaged in such projects, consistent with Section 5 of this guidance. ETA expects states to allocate funds to affected areas and service providers quickly in order to ensure funds can fulfill the purposes of these grants and to ensure that workers receive assistance. 

    Employment Recovery DWGs: Eligible applicants for Employment Recovery DWGs include:

    • a state or outlying area, or a consortium of states;
    • a local Workforce Development Board (WDB) or a consortium of WDBs;
    • an entity eligible for funding through the Indian and Native American program in WIOA Section 166(c);
    • entities determined to be appropriate by the governor of the state or outlying area involved; 
      • To be eligible, such entities must attach a signed letter from the Governor, on official letterhead, identifying the organization and indicating why the Governor has determined it appropriate to carry out a DWG project.
    • and entities that demonstrate to the Secretary of Labor their capability to effectively respond to circumstances related to particular dislocations.
      • To demonstrate its capability to the Secretary, such an applicant must submit documentation that the applicant has:
        • expertise with workforce development or training;
        • the geographic or administrative reach to handle large-scale workforce issues;
        • financial and administrative capability to administer a Federal grant; and
        • a letter of support for its DWG application from its state workforce agency and WDBs for the geographic area(s) the DWG will serve. 

    Special Populations DWGs:

    Deadline Details

    Applications are accepted throughout the year.

    Award Details

    Award amounts vary. The Department typically funds DWG awards on an incremental basis, although on rare occasions, it may award funds in full or in larger-than-typical increments, depending on factors such as the severity of the disaster and the viability of a proposed project.

    For Disaster Recovery DWGs, the Department generally awards one-third of the requested funding amount, with an approved funding threshold equal to the funding request. This initial increment allows the state to immediately enroll DWG participants to begin recovery activities, while also finishing damage assessments and developing a full application complete with budget and implementation plan.

    If a DWG projects funding requirements surpass the approved award amount, a grantee may request supplemental funding to complete the project. DWGs are generally approved for a 24-month period of performance.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts

    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available


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