WASHINGTON, DC– The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) has opened its labor-management grants application period for fiscal year 2018 and is encouraging grant applications focused on building a skilled workforce in every segment of the U.S. economy where employers have experienced difficulties in filling available good-paying jobs requiring specialized training and new skill sets.

FMCS grants are intended to support and promote labor-management cooperation as well as joint, innovative solutions to disruptive workplace issues.

FMCS grants totaling approximately $500,000 will be awarded in FY 2018 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.

As has been the case in previous years, FMCS is encouraging applications to address the shortage of skilled workers for U.S. manufacturing jobs and in other vital economic sectors. Also of special interest are grant applications that look ahead to training for high-tech jobs that will emerge from an economy where new technologies such as artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, and Internet-based transactions are commonplace. John Pinto, FMCS Deputy Director, Field Operations, said, “It is imperative that management and labor begin preparing for the new jobs and workplaces that new technologies will create in the near future. 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 fill our nation’s requirement for skilled workers tomorrow, next year and the next decade.”

“We want to encourage labor organizations and employers to think about the jobs of tomorrow and to explore options with the FMCS grants program for developing joint training programs that can teach the skills needed to fill these jobs,” said FMCS Deputy Director Scot L. Beckenbaugh. “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 through anticipating and teaching the skills that the workers of tomorrow will need,’ Beckenbaugh said.

Starting March 12, 2018, grant applications may be submitted until May 31, 2018. Application information and instructions for completing the process can be obtained online on the FMCS website.  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.