CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — The Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area will receive a $12.1 million grant through the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Department’s “Good Jobs Challenge,” a $500 million initiative administered through President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

The Good Jobs Challenge awarded 32 winning projects with funding out of a pool of 509 applicants, according to a federal news release. The program is designed to “enable communities across the country to invest in innovative approaches to workforce development that will secure job opportunities for more than 50,000 Americans,” per the release.

For WSRCA, its $12.1 million grant will specifically focus on the areas of building and construction, information technology and healthcare work. According to WSRCA’s submissions summary, the group cited barriers affecting rural residents’ abilities to access high-quality jobs, such as educational attainment gaps and a lack of access to broadband resources.

The organization said it will focus on prioritizing “training programs and apprenticeships in skilled trades, IT/financial services, and healthcare for historically underserved populations including immigrants, women, and low-income individuals.”

“A trained workforce is essential to ensuring that the United States can compete and succeed in the 21st century,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in the release. “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Commerce Department is able to make once-in-a-generation investments in industry-driven, and locally-led workforce systems that will create high-quality jobs and accelerate regional economic growth, especially for underserved communities.”