Over 55? U.S. dept of labor wants to help

Here’s some good news for older workers. The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $10 million competition to connect workers 55 years and older to career opportunities in local industries.

“This $10 million competition will result in opportunities for older Americans who want to receive skills training and extend their participation in the workforce,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

This solicitation for grant applications under the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative, is open to local workforce investment boards as well as other entities that have the support of the local workforce investment board or that demonstrate how their activities will connect to regional talent and economic development strategies. Awards are expected to range from $750,000 to $1 million.

Currently, 12.4 percent of the U.S. population – or one in every eight persons – is over the age of 65. More than 25 percent of the working population will reach retirement age by 2010.

In the global economy, a region’s ability to develop, attract and retain a well educated and skilled workforce is a key factor in maintaining our nation’s competitiveness. Successful regions connect workforce skills and lifelong learning to regional economic and talent development strategies. Successful proposals will recognize that older workers can contribute to economic growth and their respective regions’ key industries.

Today’s announcement appears in the Federal Register and can be found online at https://www.doleta.gov/grants/find_grants.cfm or www.grants.gov. The deadline for applications is 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. A Virtual Prospective Applicant Conference will be held at a time and date to be announced at the www.workforce3one.org Web site.

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