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H-1B Rural Healthcare Grant Program


Additional Links

Notice of Funding Opportunity (


Application Deadline: Nov 13, 2020


Employment and Training Administration (ETA)


Offers grant funding to establish employment and training programs for healthcare occupations that directly impact patient care, including behavioral and mental health, which are highly needed in rural areas. Increases the number of unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers training for stable, well-paying careers in health occupations, with the goal of reducing rural health workforce shortages. Requires training for positions that qualify as middle or high-skilled occupations under the H-1B visa program, and prioritizes programs focused on particular rural populations, such as veterans, military spouses, transitioning service members, women, people of color, ex-offenders, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.

Projects may offer a range of training and education services that provide assessment, coaching/counseling, and occupational skills training models that lead to recognized postsecondary credentials. Training models include:

  • On-the Job training (OJT)
  • Customized training to meet the requirements of a specific employer or group of employers
  • Incumbent worker training for current workers to upgrade skills needed to secure full-time employment
  • Registered apprenticeship programs (RAP) that combine educational and work-based learning and lead to nationally recognized certification
  • Industry recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAP) developed by specific industry groups or organizations that lead to an industry-recognized credential
  • Pre-apprenticeship programs that prepare individuals to enter an apprenticeship
  • Paid work experience and internships
  • Accelerated, competency-based training offered in classroom or online settings
  • Supportive service strategies that enable participation in training, such as transportation, childcare, dependent-care, and housing
  • Other activities to support the implementation or expansion of a training program

Employment and training programs developed under this funding opportunity must focus on H-1B healthcare occupations that provide direct patient care. A list of allowable H-1B occupations can be found in Appendix A of the funding announcement. Applicants may propose programs that address other health occupations if they can adequately demonstrate demand in their service area.

Eligible participants for employment and training programs must be age 17 or older and may not be currently enrolled in secondary school within a local educational agency. Participants must have the following employment status:

  • Unemployed workers - individuals currently without a job and are available to work
  • Underemployed workers - individuals not currently connected to a job commensurate with their level of education, skills, or previous wage/salary or who have only obtained episodic, short-term, or part-time employment
  • Incumbent workers - individuals who are employed but need training to upgrade their skills to secure full-time employment, remain competitive, advance their careers, or retain their current positions

Veterans and eligible spouses of veterans are given priority for employment, training, and placement services in job training programs funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $2,500,000
Award floor: $500,000
Project period: 48 months
Estimated number of awards: 15-40
Estimated total program funding: $40,000,000

Matching funds are not required for participation in this program. However, applicants are encouraged to generate at least 15% of the total requested grant amount as leveraged funds to help support grant activities.

Who Can Apply

Applications may be submitted by:

  • Healthcare employers
  • Healthcare industry or occupation associations
  • Nonprofit healthcare organizations affiliated with hospitals and other medical facilities
  • Organizations designated as Primary Care Associations by the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)
  • State and local workforce development boards (WDB), under sections 101 and 107 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
  • Federally recognized Indian tribal governments
  • Native American Program entities eligible under section 116 of the WIOA

Grants under this program are awarded to partnerships of public and private sector entities. Applicant organizations must establish a partnership with both public and private entities required by the program. Required partners include:

  • Employer partners committed hiring individuals trained through the grant
  • Education and training providers, including:
    • Institutions of higher education
    • Community and technical colleges and systems
    • Joint labor-management training partnerships
    • Nonprofit and community-based organizations
    • Organizations approved as WIOA Eligible Training Partners
  • Entities involved in administering the workforce development system established under WIOA, such as state and local WDBs and Native American Program entities
  • State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAA), for applicants proposing an apprenticeship program

In addition to the required partners, applicants are encouraged to collaborate with other organizations to advance program goals. More information on optional partners can be found in the funding announcement.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must propose training programs that serve rural areas. For this program, rural areas are defined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), or are a federally recognized Indian tribe.

Programs may be designed to serve rural areas at the local/regional level or at the statewide level with healthcare training:

  • Local/regional programs serve a rural part of 1 state or a contiguous area that includes multiple rural sites in an economic region without crossing state boundaries
  • Statewide programs serve an entire state or multiple non-contiguous sites within 1 state while encompassing and emphasizing service to rural areas

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing • Training Providers

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information can be found in the funding announcement.

Applicant frequently asked questions


For programmatic or technical questions:
Linda Forman

Rural Awards

Past awards communities have received are can be found on the program website.

Rural communities who have received funding include:

  • Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program Inc. in Hazard, Kentucky
  • Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, New Hampshire
  • Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board Inc. in Ashland, Wisconsin

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Education and Training • Healthcare Workforce • Veterans