Regional Talent Innovation Grants

This program will provide $7.5 million in Community Development Block Grant-CARES Act funding to local economic development organizations and workforce development partners for competitive training programs that target growth in region-specific occupations. The application window is now closed.

Program Information

The Regional Talent Innovation Grants will provide funds between $500,000 and $950,000 to eligible economic development organizations or other nonprofits to administer training programs that target growth in specific occupations in high demand from regional employers.

A priority will be training programs focused on low- to moderate-income individuals, particularly those living in geographically disadvantaged areas. It is expected that through these efforts, at least 750 individuals will receive training helping to address the lack of post-secondary credentials and a skills mismatch in occupations related to the MEDC’s Strategic Focus industries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large-scale job losses across many industries, with disproportionate impacts on individuals working in low-wage occupations and those with lower educational attainment. Also as a result of COVID, businesses now have less capital available to dedicate toward training programs, which would enable their workers to obtain industry-recognized, transferable credentials to continue upskilling, increasing their wages, and supporting their families. These types of initiatives will result in the upskilling and increased wages that are required to set Michigan’s workforce on a path toward comprehensive economic recovery, while also safeguarding workers going from low-wage occupations to middle and high-skill occupations from future economic downturns.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The applicant is located within the boundaries of the region the applicant serves
  • The applicant must demonstrate that it will retain, or train workers, post-secondary students, and/or job seekers for high-priority occupations.
  • The applicant must have both a local economic developer and a workforce development partner as part of the application materials.
  • The applicant must demonstrate the ability to qualify individual recipients or job classifications of the retention/training program as low or moderate income as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • If a region has multiple organizations that could be considered qualified applicants, the organizations should communicate with one another to avoid competing application submissions


  • Application period: April 12, 2021 to May 7, 2021
  • MEDC review period: May 8, 2021 to May 28, 2021
  • Award announcements: mid-June 2021