Discover the possibilities for a new future. Tap into free education, training and career opportunities.

Choosing a new career path can be filled with hopes and dreams for the future, but can also be daunting. A unique funding opportunity to aid dislocated workers on this journey is now available thanks to a $7.5 million National Dislocated Worker Grant managed by the Southwestern Commission and Land of Sky Regional Council for an 11-county area of Western North Carolina. 

We help individuals impacted by economic conditions find a new occupation, field or trade through education and training. Grant funding covers the cost of going back to school or enrolling in certification programs to acquire new skills.

The National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC also offers financial incentives for employers to provide on-the-job training for dislocated workers. Unlock the potential by contacting us to learn more about this historic opportunity.

Go Back to School for Free

Find a New Occupation

Earn Degrees and Certifications

Get On the Job Training
Get On-the-Job Training

Acquire Skills and Credentials
Acquire Skills and Credentials

Connect with Career Coaching

Are you an employer? Click here to learn about funding opportunities for employers to provide on-the-job training.


Our career counseling services will help you explore the many options available through the National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC to find the career path that’s right for you.
Opportunities include certificates, licensures, diplomas and associate degrees in numerous fields.
The duration varies by program. Funding for eligible workers is provided by the National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC, while eligible providers, such as community colleges, provide the instruction and training.

Examples of the many approved programs include:

Industrial/Building Trades

Electrical Systems Technology
Electronics Engineering Technology
Building Construction Technology
Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration
Civil Engineering Technology
Welding Technology
Industrial Systems Technology
Computer Integrated Machining
Mechatronics Engineering Technology
Auto Mechanics/Automotive Systems Technology
Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology

Professional Occupations

Basic Law Enforcement Training
Early Childhood Education
Computer/Information Technologies
Computer Engineering
CISCO Certification
Software and Web Development
Office/Business Administration
Paralegal Technology
Veterinary Office Manager
Culinary Arts
Commercial Driver’s License

Medical and Health Fields

Nursing Assistant
Medical Assisting
Medical Laboratory Technology
Medical Transcription
Medical Coding and Billing
Pharmacy Technician
Physical Therapy Assistant

​​Frequently Asked Questions about the National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC

No. Many types of dislocated workers are eligible for this federally-funded grant program.

Short-term training, on-the-job training, certifications, continuing education, or associate degrees. Click here for examples.

Our advisors can discuss future career options and connect you with free education and training to reach your goals. Contact us for free career counseling services.

The definition of a dislocated worker is broad. Please contact us to see if you qualify.

Even if you do not see your occupation listed, we may still be able to help you. Please contact us to see if you qualify.

This grant covers 11 counties in Western North Carolina: Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, and Madison.

Yes, possibly. Please contact us to see if you qualify for opportunities available to self-employed and contract workers.

You could still benefit from the program. Contact us to determine your eligibility and learn about other supportive services that may be available to you.

Yes. Many additional costs are covered, including books, testing fees for certifications and licenses, travel reimbursement, work-related tools, equipment and uniforms, and more.

Apply now. Grant funds are time sensitive and are available on a first-come first-serve basis.

We can connect you with opportunities to pursue a new career without going back to school, including on-the-job training, assistance with a resume, help with applications, job searches and more.

Complete the form on this website by clicking here. Or contact your local NCWorks Career Center at 828-456-6061.

Frequently Asked Questions for Employers

The National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC connects employers with eligible workers by providing financial incentives for on-the-job training. Funding is available to off-set a portion of the worker’s salary during the training period.

OJT compensates employers for the costs associated with skills training and loss of production for newly hired employees who qualify as dislocated workers. OJT can assist employers who are looking to expand their businesses and who need additional staff trained with specialized skills. The OJT program ensures that employment and training services are coordinated and complimentary, so that dislocated workers acquire skills and credentials to meet employer needs.

Employers are reimbursed to help defray personnel training costs. Reimbursement for the costs associated with training a new employee is calculated on a sliding scale and depends upon the availability of funds. For example, employers with less than 250 employees can be reimbursed up to 75% of an hourly rate. Our staff assists the business through all phases of the OJT, striving to provide prompt payments with a minimum of paperwork.

Employer eligibility and the level of compensation is determined on a case-by-case basis. It is important to note:

  • The business cannot use OJT-funded workers to replace employees laid off within the past six months.
  • The business must agree to hire OJT workers as regular, full-time employees. 
  • The rate of pay and benefits must be the same as other new hires doing similar work with a starting wage of at least $15 per hour.
  • Training must be conducted at the employer’s place of business and may not be subcontracted.

Employers determine the selection criteria for OJT workers (e.g., greater than 8th grade math ability, English-Spanish bilingual ability, or any other applicable criteria). The employer may refer a candidate for screening to determine if they are eligible, or our staff can identify candidates who meet the criteria and refer them to your company to interview. Either way, the employer has the final decision on who will be hired.

A brief OJT Pre-Award Analysis is completed to confirm criteria needed for employers to participate in the program. Then, a standardized OJT contract will be completed containing the terms of agreement such as salary reimbursement amount, time frame, and training plan.

The process of writing and negotiating the contract and establishing a training plan for the individual typically takes 7 to 10 business days. The individual cannot be hired before the effective date of the OJT Contract.

Interested employers may click here to fill out a form. Or, for more information, contact Linda Lamp at linda@regiona.org or Doug Nelson at doug@regiona.org.


The National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC covers a broad range of individuals who have been impacted by economic conditions in the region, from self-employed contractors to spouses of laid-off workers. Examples are provided below, however, we encourage anyone who is interested in the opportunities to contact us to determine eligibility.

  • An individual who has been terminated or laid-off.
  • A self-employed worker who has been affected by economic conditions in the community.
  • Contractors or workers who have been affected by a major economic disruption in the community.
  • An individual previously laid-off who has taken a “stop-gap” job with a lower salary than their previous position.
  • A family member who was dependent on the income of a dislocated worker in their household and is unemployed or underemployed.
  • An individual who has been unemployed for more than 13 weeks.

About Us

The National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC is administered in partnership by:

Mountain Area Workforce Development Board
Southwestern Commission Logo

The National Dislocated Worker Grant is 100% federally supported by the US Department of Labor through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act as part of an award totaling $6,000,629 to the Southwestern Workforce Development Board. Grant funding is available through a partnership with the NC Department of Commerce and part of the Governor’s NC Job Ready initiative.

NC Job Ready

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