Friday, May 10, 2024

Governor Cooper announces NCWorks Local Innovation Fund Reentry grant opportunity

Raleigh, N.C.
May 10, 2024

The NCWorks Commission, North Carolina’s workforce development board, is seeking applications for a competitive reentry grant to support local efforts in addressing workforce challenges, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.

As part of Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready initiative, the NCWorks Local Innovation Fund plans to award a grant of up to $125,000, supporting a local partnership working to make a lasting impact on reentry efforts. This round of grant-making will support a two-year implementation grant.

“This fund not only fuels innovation but also advances the vital mission of reentry for formerly incarcerated people,” Governor Cooper said. “By strengthening these programs and partnerships, we pave pathways to rebuild lives and ensure safer communities.”

The Local Innovation Fund is interested in supporting projects that address the reentry population, which is traditionally underserved and disconnected from the education and workforce system; bring together diverse community organizations; increase educational attainment; address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our workforce; and/or develop talent pipelines for in-demand and/or high-wage occupations.

“In line with our First in Talent Plan, the NCWorks Local Innovation Fund fosters diverse solutions for workforce challenges," said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. "This grant empowers communities to pioneer innovative approaches, including initiatives for individuals with justice system involvement, connecting them to employers and expanding opportunities for all North Carolinians.”

Applications for the reentry grant are now open, inviting community partnerships that demonstrate a strong collaborative team, an innovative idea, and robust local support in the field of reentry. Each partnership must include the local area Workforce Development Board (WDB) as the lead agency, as well as education, community, labor, and business leaders.

The deadline to apply for this grant is June 7, 2024. The selected grantee is scheduled to be announced by late June 2024.

The Local Innovation Fund is an initiative of the NCWorks Commission, while the Division of Workforce Solutions within the N.C. Department of Commerce helps administer the fund. The 37-member NCWorks Commission includes representatives from the business community, heads of state workforce agencies, educators and community leaders. The Commission, which is designated as the state’s Workforce Development Board under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, recommends policies and strategies to enable the state’s workforce and businesses to compete in the global economy.

The source of funding for the newest Local Innovation grant is the State Fiscal Recovery Fund (SFRF), a component of the federal American Rescue Plan Act which provided $5.4 billion to North Carolina to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.

For more information on the grant and application guidelines, visit


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