March 4, 2004





Assistant Secretary
SUBJECT : Building Partnerships with Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations and A New Grant Opportunity for Workforce Investment Boards

  1. Purpose. To educate workforce leaders about building new and successful partnerships between the WIA system and faith-based and community organizations (FBCO), and to announce a new grant opportunity for workforce investment boards (WIB) that successfully demonstrate the ability to partner with FBCOs.

  2. Background. The U.S. Department of Labor's (Department or DOL) Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (Center or CFBCI) was created when President Bush signed Executive Order 13198 on January 29, 2001. The purpose of the Center, and a key component of the President's Management Agenda for the entire Department, is to remove statutory, regulatory, and procedural barriers that prevent FBCOs from partnering with the WIA system. As legal and regulatory barriers have been removed, ETA and CFBCI are increasingly focusing on ways to integrate FBCOs into the WIA system at the local level.

    In 2001, an audit by the Department revealed that both faith-based and community-based grassroots organizations are often under-utilized as partners in the workforce investment system.As a result, the CFBCI launched the Touching Lives and Communities (TLC) pilot project in 2003 to bridge the divide between the local WIBs and FBCOs in Memphis, Tennessee, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After a year of engaging the WIBs and FBCOs in those cities, the project has yielded valuable strategies for building new partnerships where few or none had existed in the past. This notice requests that states and WIBs utilize the enclosed materials from the TLC pilot project and other studies to incorporate FBCOs into local WIB activities.

  3. Building Partnerships The TLC pilot project provides the workforce investment system with innovative models and strategies for successful partnerships with FBCOs. In both Memphis and Milwaukee, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and CFBCI found that FBCOs constitute a large, untapped workforce development resource.The TLC project bridged the gaps-in language, expertise, and culture-between the WIBs and FBCOs to create new partnerships that are helping Memphis and Milwaukee meet their workforce development goals and objectives. The experience in Memphis and Milwaukee also highlights new opportunities for direct collaboration between FBCOs and employers that are seeking motivated, responsible, and reliable employees. FBCOs in these cities are being asked to assist job seekers in acquiring the life management, employment enhancement, and readiness skills needed to benefit from the vocational or technical services offered at One-Stop Career Centers or to enter and succeed in the job market.

    This notice contains three attachments that will provide workforce system leaders with strategies, lessons, and creative ideas for working with FBCOs to help hard-to-serve individuals in their communities.

    A list of ETA grant awardees and their project summaries that show the broad range of services being provided by FBCOs throughout the nation can be found on the CFBCI Web site at

    Touching Lives and Communities Final Report (Appendix A)
    In 2003, CFBCI and a team of experts developed a model for collaboration and integration between FBCOs and local WIBs in Memphis and Milwaukee.The resulting TLC pilot project had two purposes: (1) offer workforce development services to hard-to-serve populations by leveraging the assets (services and access) of FBCOs in urban, low-income neighborhoods; and (2) connect FBCO service providers and partners to the workforce investment system by including them in the decision-making and management processes of the WIBs and One-Stop Career Centers.Appendix A contains the TLC final report that summarizes the partnership process and the lessons-learned from this yearlong effort.

    The following list contains some of the key lessons-learned in Memphis and Milwaukee:

  4. Grant Opportunity The Department encourages WIBs to begin partnering more effectively with FBCOs. With that goal in mind, ETA will offer a unique competitive grant in March 2004 to WIBs that have successfully demonstrated the ability to form working partnerships with FBCOs. The grant will build upon successful ETA grants from Program Years (PY) 2001 and 2002 that focused on the use of intermediaries to build partnerships between FBCOs and local One-Stop systems. The PY 2001-2002 grant solicitations are listed on the CFBCI Web site at The end goal of this new grant opportunity is to encourage WIBs to form long-term partnerships with FBCOs to develop and sustain service delivery mechanisms in order to provide enhanced employment opportunities for hard-to-serve populations, including ex-offenders, welfare recipients and out-of-school youth.

    Potential grant applicants will:

  5. Action Required Please make this information available to appropriate program staff.

  6. Inquiries. Questions regarding the Touching Lives and Communities project or any other information included in this Training and Employment Notice should be directed to Erica Sager at 202-693-6450 or ETA and CFBCI will provide additional information throughout 2004 to support workforce boards in developing relationships with FBCOs and the One-Stop system to help serve local workforce and employer needs.

  7. Attachments.

    Appendix A: Experiences from the Field: Fostering Workforce Development Partnerships with Faith-Based and Community Organizations

    Appendix B: Bridging the Gap: Meeting the Challenge of Universal Access Through Faith-Based and Community Partnerships

    Appendix C: Guidance for Faith-Based and Community Organizations on Partnering with the Federal Government

    Washington, DC 20210