Workforce Accelerator Fund 10

The California Work Force Development Board (CWDB), in coordination with the Employment Development Department (EDD) has recently announced the availability of up to $10.5 million in Department of Labor, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds to design, develop, and implement projects that will drive equitable recovery with quality jobs and accelerate employment and re-employment for California workers. Applicants can apply for up to $500,000 depending on project category. Applications are due December 20, 2021.

What is the Work Force Accelerator Fund? In April 2014, the CWDB and EDD established the Workforce Accelerator Fund (Accelerator) as a new initiative for driving innovation in California’s workforce system. Since April 2014, just over $32 million has been invested, resulting in over 170 projects across the state.

The Accelerator supports innovative solutions that accelerate quality employment outcomes for low-income and disadvantaged populations and that have potential for system-wide scale. Through a combination of seed funding and an initiative-wide support network, the Accelerator provides an opportunity for the workforce system to align funding, programs, and services in unique, worker-centered ways. The intent is to bring successful strategies to scale and embed them into the workforce system, ultimately influencing system change.

The goal of the current Accelerator program, Accelerator 10, is to impact economic and racial equity by creating pathways to good quality jobs for workers from disadvantaged or low-income communities.

Who is eligible to apply for this program? Eligible applicants include:
  • Local Workforce Development Boards
  • Labor Organizations
  • Labor-Management Partnerships
  • Public Universities, K-12 Education Entities and Adult Schools
  • Community Colleges
  • County Social Services Agencies
  • Worker Centers/Worker’s Rights Organizations
  • Community-Based Organizations
  • Business Related Non-Profit Organizations
  • Workforce Intermediaries

What projects are eligible for the Accelerator 10 program? The Accelerator 10 seeks solutions to specific challenges that inhibit career opportunity and employment success for the targeted populations and improve access to the workforce development pipeline – education, training, support services, placement, retention, etc. The intent is not simply to create new programs or to expand existing ones. Successful applicants will demonstrate how their projects will direct existing resources and efforts in new, more efficient, and effective ways. These efforts should not create or reinforce service delivery silos or funding silos, but rather should result in strategies that take a new or unique approach to address workforce pipeline gaps specific to these populations that can be applied, replicated, or scaled to create broader impact and system improvement.

The end game is advancing job quality and equity. Each project must identify a specific workforce system challenge or gap that existing workforce programs do not or cannot currently address due. Examples include too rigid funding requirements, inadequate resources, need for relevant expertise or new partnerships, or other obstacles.

With relatively flexible Accelerator funding, the Big Idea is a new innovative approach that has the potential to address this challenge or gap, thereby accelerating quality job outcomes for the population(s) targeted by the project.

A Big Idea will address one or more program areas below or elements of one or more of these areas:
  • Make high-growth jobs better jobs by increasing job quality standards for emerging industries and/or jobs that drive the region by working with employers.
  • Create income security and/or upward mobility for current workers. For example, with an employer or within an industry, or from one occupation to another higher wage occupation, etc. This may include, but is not limited to, employed worker training (i.e., paid OJT or formal apprenticeship), sector-based “hiring hall” or “employer of record” approaches that allow employees mobility across multiple employers, employer collaboratives that lead to shared investment in talent, sector-based technology solutions that enhance mobility and access to quality jobs, worker collaboratives that improve sector-based networking and income stability, or activities that lead to employee ownership.
  • Connect or “bridge” workforce programs directly to quality jobs. This may include, but is not limited to, transitional employment (such as employment social enterprises), work-based learning, pre-apprenticeship aligned with State-approved apprenticeship, earn-and-learn approaches such as formal apprenticeship, or other strategies that connect the target population(s) to entry-level employment in quality jobs, including pathways to public sector employment and existing HRTPs.
What are the target populations? Target populations under the Accelerator 10 grant program should prioritize at least one of the following:
  • English Language Learners
  • Homeless and Housing Insecure
  • Immigrants
  • Justice-Involved Individuals
  • People with Disabilities
  • Veterans
  • Youth  Other target population(s) in geographic location(s) disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
What are the project categories?
  • New Accelerator Projects: New Accelerator project applicants are encouraged to take a research and development approach to prototyping new models or approaches in response to COVID 19, economic recovery, and economic and racial equity. Projects may include design, development, testing, piloting, and/or implementation activities, to be determined by the scope and target of the project and the Project Team partners.
  • Innovation Impact Projects: Through Accelerator 10, the CWDB will fund applicants who have successfully managed WIOA-funded grant projects in the past. The intent is to invite previous or existing grantees to recast a current or past project to affect the goals of Accelerator 10 through one or more of the Program Areas, incorporating High Road principles in whole or in part. Applicants will use innovative strategies to adapt, replicate and scale previous successful project models in response to COVID 19, economic recovery, and economic and racial equity. This can include any project models funded with CWDB grant dollars, including Accelerator, High Road Training Partnerships, Regional Plan Implementation, etc. Successful applicants will clearly articulate the process for adaptation, replication, or scale.
  • Technical Assistance and Support: CWDB will fund Technical Assistance and Support activities that aid all Accelerator 10 awarded projects. These activities provide individual and group-based assistance to Accelerator 10 awardees in their projects design, development, and implementation and provide a forum for cross-project communication and peer-to-peer support. The activities can occur during Community of Practice meetings, or through other means of communication as identified by the Technical Assistance and Support Provider.
What are the funding levels and cost-sharing requirements? Awards vary based on project category as detailed below:
  • New Accelerator Project:
    • Applicants who have not previously managed a WIOA-funded grant initiative: Maximum $150,000 award with a 1:1 cash or in-kind match
    • Applicants who have demonstrated successful management of WIOA dollars: Maximum $250,000 award with a 1:1 cash or in-kind match.
  • Innovation Impact Projects: Maximum $500,000 award with a 1:1 cash or in-kind match
  • Technical Assistance & Support: Maximum $300,000 award with no match.

What is the grant duration? The Accelerator 10 grant term is 18 months (June 1, 2022-December 31, 2023) for all project categories. Applications are due December 20, 2021 with award announcements likely to be made in March 2022.

The full Application Guidelines and Instructions can be found here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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