August 4, 2021

H-1B Visa occupations: US announces grant of $150 million for reskilling and training of workforce

The statement added that the grantees would deploy training through public/private partnerships. (Image: PTI)

H-1B workforce: The US has announced grant of $150 million to train H-1B workforce! The US Department of Labour on Thursday said that it would invest $150 million (about Rs 1,106 crore) for the training in middle- to high-skilled occupations under H-1B in key sectors of the country’s economy. These key sectors include advanced manufacturing, transportation, information technology and cyber security. The investment made under the H-1B One Workforce Grant Program would be used for the upskilling of the current workforce, as well as the training of a new generation of workers so that the workforce in these areas could grow, the department said in a statement.

In the statement, the department stated that along with disruptions in the labour market, the coronavirus pandemic had also forced several employers and education and training institutes and providers to rethink the way they delivered training. The statement added that the grant programme is a way for the Employment and Training Administration unit of the department to streamline the funding and resources in order to encourage a workforce system that is more integrated. Such a system, the department believes, would encourage the applicants to provide an innovative blend of training strategies, while leveraging different modes of delivery of training – online, distance and other learning enabled by technology.

The statement added that the grantees would deploy training through public/private partnerships, and provide the individuals in their communities with the skills required to advance the careers in middle- to high-skilled H-1B occupations. The department added that the training models would be widely ranged, including classroom training, on-the-job training, incumbent worker training, customised training, Industry-Recognised Apprenticeship Programmes and Register Apprenticeship Programmes.

The statement also quoted John Pallasch, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, as saying that the department was challenging communities to think as One Workforce, adding that in the current scenario, it was critical for local organisations to work as a team instead of operating as independent parts. Pallasch added that the goal was to create community partnerships seamless in order to build careers for local job aspirants, enabling them to enter middle- to high-skilled occupations in the cyber security, transportation and advanced manufacturing industries.

The statement added that public-private partnerships would be leveraging resources across funding streams from federal, state and local sources, apart from the private sector. The aim of these partnerships would be to work in a tandem to prepare a skilled workforce in an economic region. The department added that all applicants would have to demonstrate that they were leveraging a minimum 25% of the total grant amount requested.

Apart from that, the participants wishing to benefit from the grant programme would be eligible only if they were 17 years old or older, and were not enrolled in a secondary school within a local educational agency currently. The individuals considered for training would include underemployed or unemployed individuals who were seeking full-time jobs and incumbent workers who were required to upskill or update themselves to remain being employed or to advance into middle- to high-skilled positions, the statement added. Moreover, Priority of Service would be given to transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses, the department said.

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