Combining Different Funding Sources to Maximize Results
June 14, 2024

Cities are well positioned to examine how the BIL or IRA funds may complement, expand or advance investments that are being made through other federal, state, local and philanthropic efforts. In developing a funding strategy, examine how the new funding will fit into the existing portfolio of support and where combining different sources of funding may be possible. 

Important Note: The terms braiding and blending are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the combining of funds but there are some important distinctions from a reporting and compliance perspective, especially for federal funds.   

  • Braided1 funds and their uses are tracked individually and their respective compliance requirements, such as eligibility or timeframe, must still be met even though they may differ. Separate tracking is required for most federal funding streams as it allows for greater accountability and transparency.
  • Blending2 combines two or more funding sources into a single pot of funds. Subsequent tracking, reporting, or performance analysis is conducted for the program overall, not for each source. Blending often requires prior approval if public sector dollars will be included in the pot. 

Another term that is sometimes used when combining funds is sequencing. The process of sequencing uses different funding sources by deploying the funds in a specific order to best serve the individual.  With sequencing, reporting and compliance generally remain separate but funds are used in a specific order to maximize their impact. 

Braiding is the most common approach to combining funds.  Examples include: 

Shared Program Design: With a new or expanded program, multiple funding sources may be designed into the approach from the beginning.This It can also be accomplished through careful journey mapping of the services where costs are allocated to different funds based on criteria such as eligibility of the individual, timing, or type of service (e.g., subsidy vs. training).The use of the funding may differ depending on the fund’s restrictions, but can be transparent to the individual receiving the support because they enrolled in a single program (e.g. a young adult may receive training covered by BIL and a stipend covered by WIOA but could be unaware of their distinct funding sources) or are receiving services at a single location.

Co-enrollment: With co-enrollment, the individual is enrolled under two or more programs so that funds from the various programs can be deployed to cover the costs of the individual’s needs. For example, a client may be co-enrolled in SNAP and WIOA to cover the cost of their food as well as their training. Each funding source pays for its respective portion of the services and, through co-enrollment, tracks progress against its respective performance measures. 

Match Funding: With match funding, in order to unlock one source of funds, an equal amount or a percentage of funding from another source must be available to carry out the same project. For example, a government-funded grant may have a 50% match requirement from non-federal funds in order to be eligible for the award, or a federal grant may require a 20% investment from the local area. 

While braiding can be an important tool, it is not always easy. There are both benefits and challenges associated with its implementation, depending on the degree of alignment between the different types of funding and their corresponding funding organizations, compliance requirements and timelines.


  • May incentivize conversations about how to better streamline and maximize efforts
  • Can address gaps in funding or double resources through matching
  • May provide ability to deliver additional / deeper services, extend the time period of services 
  • Can increase participant outcomes by meeting a need that was not otherwise covered
  • May encourage additional funders to consider supporting the effort
  • Can reduce paperwork for customer when used in tandem with co-enrollment


  • Compliance requirements vary greatly and can be difficult to manage or may completely restrict combining funding 
  • Timelines and performance metrics are often unaligned, creating additional complexities
  • Reporting is often separate, creating duplicate work
  • Eligibilities may not be the same, making additional services unavailable for some customers 
  • Compliance requirements can be complex, making it difficult or time-consuming to implement

Some pooled funds, such as the Environmental Education Funders Collaborative, the Audacious Project or the Families & Workers Fund are now playing the role of braiding or blending, depending on the pooled fund’s structure, philanthropic funding by creating a capital pool from a wide variety of organizations that can be deployed to support specific issues, populations or geographies. This reduces the administrative burden for grantees, who receive the aggregated or funds from a single organization.

Tips for Successful Braiding

  • Align stakeholders and systems around a common goal. Use the possibility of braiding to advance process alignment or integration. This might include steps like streamlining data collection, aligning reporting, and adopting shared performance measures. Logic models can be a useful visual tool to create such alignment. 
  • Identify strategic considerations for mitigating common challenges that may arise when braiding or blending funds. Carefully review compliance requirements and establish points of contact, standard operating procedures and continuous feedback loops to help navigate the work as it progresses. 
  • Consider sustainability from the beginning to inform the structure and the stakeholder. Is this a specific fit for purpose effort that is time bound, or will the organizations work together in perpetuity on a number of different efforts? 

Sample Targets for Braiding

Funding programs that either require or allow workforce development.

Focus Funding Sample Braiding Approaches
Workforce Development Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding — Includes adult, dislocated worker, and youth funding, as well as rapid response and layoff aversion Use BIL funds to develop new apprenticeship programs in construction and fund participants through WIOA ITAs for enrolled individuals. Approved apprenticeships can be automatically added to the Eligible Training Provider List.
YouthBuild Program — Pre-apprenticeship training in construction trades for ages 16–24, often combined with academic education and leadership development opportunities Create pathways for YouthBuild participants directly into apprenticeships on BIL-funded projects. Use YouthBuild to cover the education and leadership costs for enrolled individuals and BIL to cover the apprentice salary.
Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) — Focuses on helping justice-involved youth and adults gain job training and support services to successfully reintegrate into the workforce  Use REO to cover supportive services for enrolled individuals and provide expungement services, where relevant, and use BIL funds to pay for apprenticeship or on-the-job training.
Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative — Provides grants to help rural communities develop and implement innovative workforce development solutions tailored to their unique needs and economic landscape Use WORC funds to provide the necessary supportive services and essential skill development to prepare enrolled individuals within the Appalachian, Lower Mississippi Delta and Northern Border regions for a seamless transition into new construction and climate pathways funded by BIL.
U.S. Department of Labor Building Pathways for Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program — Targets unemployed and underemployed workers and creates pathways to H-1B industries and occupations including engineering, technology and architecture3 Create pathways for WIOA youth participants into engineering and technology careers through Building Pathways for Infrastructure grant-funded projects. Utilized WIOA to cover the education and leadership costs for enrolled youth and BPI to cover the apprentice salary.
Education Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Grants— Funds vocational programs and career exploration opportunities for secondary students. Use BIL funds to partner with community colleges in establishing new CTE programs in green construction techniques. Shift the focus on Perkins-funded activities to local emerging infrastructure and green industries. 
Title I Grants to States — Federal K–12 education funding4, allocated based on the number of low-income students in a school district, supports a wide range of programs and services for disadvantaged students. Use BIL funds to embed exposure opportunities into the K–12 system for construction and climate careers such as onsite visits, mentoring and pre-apprenticeship opportunities for high schoolers. 
21st Century Community Learning Centers Program — Supports out-of-school learning time, such as after-school, before-school, and summer learning experiences for students and communities Use learning centers to provide supplemental STEM education, such as engineering, data analytics, environmental safety and other fields not typically offered during the regular school day, or to offer experiential learning opportunities such as job shadow or tours in BIL- and IRA-funded fields to accelerate student readiness. Pair this with BIL- or IRA-funded pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships to continue the learning pathways. 5
Supporting America’s School Infrastructure Grant Program (SASI) — Focuses on increasing the capacity of states to support high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools in leveraging other available federal, state, and local resources to improve school facilities and environments. Use SASI to invest in smart classrooms, simulation technology and other tools to create the space to deliver virtual learning. Deploy BIL funds to deliver infrastructure curriculum remotely in these tech-enabled K–12 classrooms to increase early exposure.
Housing Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) — Develop viable urban communities for low- and moderate-income persons, via economic development projects, public facilities installation, community centers, housing rehabilitation, public services, clearance/acquisition, microenterprise assistance, code enforcement, homeowner assistance, etc. Sequence or braid CDFG and BIL funding to target recruitment and training for populations from low- to moderate-income areas. 
Health and Human Services Refugee Assistance Programs (RAF) — Supports ongoing services for refugees such as employment training and job placement, case management, mental health services, educational assistance and citizenship preparation. Use BIL funding to establish policies that encourage companies to consider refugee populations for construction and climate jobs. Leverage a combination of RAF and BIL funding to design pathways for enrolled refugees to return to their prior specialty or obtain certification in a new specialty. 
Reception and Placement (R&P) Grants — Supports the initial reception and placement of refugees in the United States.  Use BIL funding to establish policies that encourage companies to consider refugee populations for construction and climate jobs. Leverage a combination of R&P and BIL funding to design pathways for refugees to return to their prior specialty or obtain certification in a new specialty. 
SNAP E+T — Focuses on helping participants obtain the skills and find work that moves them forward to self-sufficiency Target SNAP recipients for recruitment into new BIL- or IRA-funded construction career pathways and meet SNAP E+T training requirements. 
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — Provides cash aid and other supports to those experiencing hardship Target TANF recipients for recruitment into new construction career pathways. Use TANF to cover supportive services and BIL funds to cover training costs. 
Technology National Science Foundation (NSF) has programs funded by the CHIPS Act that support STEM education and scholarships, which can create a pipeline of future semiconductor industry workers.  Partner with K–12 programs, leveraging education funding, to build STEM education pathways into early education and begin to expose students to microelectronics.
Companies applying for CHIPS Act manufacturing incentives are required to submit workforce development plans and are encouraged to include elements like registered apprenticeships, partnerships with educational institutions, and on-the-job training.  Use WIOA, SNAP or TANF funds to ensure workers have the necessary supportive services to enter or persist in company-sponsored training programs. 
A variety of CHIPS grants beyond the NSF investments either directly support STEM education and workforce as critical elements of innovation or as standalone investments. Sector partnerships, wraparound services, career and technical education at the high school and postsecondary level, and apprenticeships as some of the models envisioned.  Use CHIPS investments in core learning pathways alongside IRA and BIL infrastructure investments to build the electronics capabilities that workers need to support the growing trades and technology sector demands. 
Economic Development Association Tech Hubs program intends to create globally competitive innovation centers in approximately 10 years while increasing employment at all skill levels, and equitably.  Explore establishing tech hubs to centralize training curriculum and supports that accelerate access and completion for diverse populations. Consider co-locating in a job center or at a community college.
Defense Enhanced Use of Defense Production Act — New domestic production facilities projects for heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, or heat pump system components include workforce investment. Renovation of existing production facilities projects to transition from manufacture of other HVAC systems or water heating equipment that use fossil energy includes investment in workforce through partnerships with labor unions and other workforce groups, apprenticeship programs, and pre-apprenticeship programs.  Use existing K–12 partnerships to create pathways for students into advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeships that focus on the transition from fossil fuel to green energy.

1. Per Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200), braiding is generally allowed without prior authorization but collaboration with OMB is encouraged. Funds must still be spent according to the requirements of each program, and documentation retained on how the federal funds are used. Activities funded must align with the purposes of the original grant programs. Use of funds must adhere to the specific rules and regulations of each funding source, even when braided.

2. Per Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200)  blending typically requires statutory authorization, meaning there needs to be specific legal allowance for it in the program’s governing law.

3. DOL Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program 

4. link to funding status and awards

5. Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers 


Other Resources