Secretary DeVos Announces Student-Centered Grant Awards to Spur Worker Development, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth During Coronavirus Recovery

Octae Connection

September 28, 2020


OCTAE Connection Issue


Secretary DeVos Announces Student-Centered Grant Awards to Spur Worker Development, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth During Coronavirus Recovery

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has announced that more than $126 million in new grant funding will be awarded to eight states to provide students the opportunity to develop new skills in high demand areas. The recipients will leverage the expertise and facilities available on college campuses to spur entrepreneurship and foster business development and innovation as America begins to recover from COVID-19-related disruptions to education. This funding was made available through the Education Stabilization Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump. Awardees include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Hampton University in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"America's workers and entrepreneurs have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and this administration is committed to reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit and helping Americans reenter the workforce as the economy recovers," said Secretary DeVos. "We created this grant competition because we saw the clear need to support lifelong learners who needed a boost to get back on their feet, and I was delighted to see so many states come forward with innovative initiatives and partnerships. By breaking down barriers between education and industry and supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses, we can help workers thrive and get America's economic engine running at full speed again."

The grant awards will support states' efforts to assist in the development of new education and training opportunities; encourage the engagement of employers and industry sectors in providing high-quality education and training opportunities to improve workforce preparation, and enable innovators in local communities to benefit from access to faculty experts, state-of-the-art equipment, and shared facilities through the development or growth of small business incubators located at, or affiliated with, colleges and universities.

Congress set aside 1% of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for discretionary grants to fulfill unmet needs related to burdens caused by the pandemic. The Department of Education announced the Reimagine Workforce Preparation (RWP) grant competition in late spring 2020, inviting any state to apply. Specifically, it called for projects that:

  1. Expand educational opportunities through short-term, career pathways or sector-based education and training programs; or
  2. Support college sustainability and local entrepreneurship through small business incubators.

More information on this program and the awardees can be found here. The Department continues to update with information for students, parents, educators and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For additional resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about COVID-19, please visit