WASHINGTON, DC– The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) has opened its labor-management grants application period for fiscal year 2017 to encourage and promote labor-management cooperation as well as joint, innovative solutions to disruptive workplace issues.

Grants are awarded by the Agency to promote best practices in labor-management cooperation as a way of improving collective bargaining and proactively mitigating labor-management disputes. The grant program supports the establishment and operation of joint labor-management committees at the company level, on a community or area-wide basis, within a particular industry, and for public sector employees.

This year, FMCS is especially encouraging applications to address the shortage of skilled workers for U.S. manufacturing jobs and in other vital economic sectors. FMCS Acting Director John Pinto stated, “It is my belief that management and labor, working collaboratively, and with FMCS assistance, can develop plans to suit their individual circumstances and special needs, whatever they might be, to sufficiently restore a skilled workforce for our nation’s employers. It is well known that there is a shortage of qualified, skilled workers in our country to fill the available skilled manufacturing jobs.

“All labor organizations and their employer partners can explore options with the FMCS Grants program for working together to develop joint training programs that provide the technical skills for new manufacturing jobs,” he continued. “Working with FMCS to build cooperative efforts, unions and employers can also benefit from improved labor-management relationships and increased competency in joint problem-solving to better meet the demands of our U.S. manufacturing sector for skilled workers,” he said.

Starting today (March 1), grant applications may be submitted until May 31, 2017. Application information about how to apply can be obtained online at the Agency’s Web site—www.fmcs.gov. Interested parties are urged to contact the FMCS Grants Office at (202) 606-8181 with any questions they might have.

The grants program, which began in 1981 under the authority of the Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978 (PL 95-524), has funded a broad range of projects including outreach, communications, strategic planning, minority recruitment and process development.