The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (ETA) awarded approximately $54 million in grants to 14 grantees for the H-1B-funded Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI) grant program on June 14, 2016. SWFI grantees provide support to parents who face barriers to training and are in need of increasing skills and competencies that will either prepare them for entry into an H-1B-aligned career pathway or advancement along an H-1B-aligned career pathway and into middle- or high-skilled jobs. These grants aim to give more working parents a career pathway to secure higher wage jobs by addressing the significant barriers to participating in and completing training, and in trying to find and acquire affordable, quality child care—including emergency child care—while attending skills training programs. SWFI grantees are working to address both job training needs and child care barriers of low- to middle- skilled parents through individual services (program-level activities) and by developing or improving systems navigation services that will result in sustainable systemic change (system-level activities). Grant recipients include partnerships of private and public sector entities, which include workforce development entities, education and training providers, business entities, child care and other early childhood education service providers, and employer partners.
The SWFI grant program was authorized under Section 414 (c) of the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA), as amended (codified as 29 USC 3224a).