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story.lead_photo.caption A map showing the Delta Regional Authority area.

The Delta Regional Authority announced a $1,687,013 investment into 13 programs, including two Arkansas recipients -- Southeast Arkansas College at Pine Bluff and Restore Hope Inc. at Little Rock.

The authority announced the investment Monday for programs within the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions through the Delta Workforce Grant Program.

The authority invested a total of $280,000 into two Arkansas programs, according to a news release.

SEARK will receive $150,000 and will use the funding to establish a certificate program in supply chain transportation technology to prepare program participants for commercial truck licensure. The investment is projected to train 45 individuals for high-demand careers in the transportation and logistics industry.

In early November, SEARK announced that it was moving ahead with plans to add courses and curricula, including a commercial driver's license program.

Restore Hope will receive $130,000. The agency will use Delta Regional Authority funding to establish a recovery-to-work program in White County for individuals affected by substance use disorder. The investment is projected to train 16 people for high-demand careers in the metal fabrication industry, according to the release.

"As our economy continues to recover in Arkansas, it is important to create ecosystems that support industry-driven workforce development," said the authority's federal co-chairman, Chris Caldwell. "Restore Hope Inc. and Southeast Arkansas College both demonstrated a commitment to building a skilled workforce in Arkansas by collaborating with industry partners to develop innovative strategies that will ultimately strengthen the region's economic outlook."

The Delta Workforce Program supports programs and initiatives that expand job training and re-employment opportunities, align workforce and economic development strategies, create sustainable talent pipelines, establish or enhance locally/regionally significant public-private partnerships, and support enhanced workforce productivity through innovative programming, according to the release.

Grants ranging from $76,800 to $150,000 were awarded to industry-driven workforce development programs and initiatives in six Delta Regional Authority states.

Eligible applicants demonstrated at least one employer partner seeking to hire more skilled workers in a high-demand industry sector and will aid communities particularly hard hit by industrial downsizing, business closures, and job losses as a result of the public health and economic crisis.

To complement this funding opportunity, the authority will offer grantees post-award technical assistance to ensure projects are effectively and sustainably implemented, according to the release.

For details about the Delta Workforce Program, visit www.dra.gov/workforce.

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