The North Carolina Department of Commerce will boost efforts to entrepreneurs launch new ventures through a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The N.C. award was one of 10 totaling $17 million the federal government announced Tuesday as part of a program to assist displaced workers.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) hailed the awarding of the grant as a boost for entrepreneurship in the state.

“Some folks have a business idea or a desire to be self-employed, but they don’t always have access to the resources and training to get their plans off the ground,” Dole said in a statement. “This funding will support programs that provide potential entrepreneurs with the tools to help launch their businesses and generate economic development.”

Grants were awarded on a competitive basis with 21 applications being considered.

“These $17 million in grants will help workers develop the skills they need to succeed in new careers and even start new businesses,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

N.C.’s grant was awarded to support entrepreneurship for dislocated workers.