County supers have invested $14.5 million in ARPA funds in employment programs


American Rescue Plan Act funds have been spent by municipalities on all sorts of things — even with a long list of federal guidelines to follow.

Maricopa County recently announced how $14.5 million in ARPA funds will be distributed among more than a dozen partner county agencies.

The money is what the County Board of Supervisors set aside for workforce development from its $435 million ARPA global allocation from Congress. The county’s Department of Social Services said in a news release that the county’s investment in workforce development is one of several such initiatives in a comprehensive strategy to help families, individuals and businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Maricopa County residents can track where funds are going on a public dashboard at Maricopa.gov/Rescue to access help and resources.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the Workforce Development Funding at its March 9 meeting.

Jacqueline Edwards, director of the county’s Department of Social Services which administers the funds, said in the statement that the investment will help develop in-demand sectors of Arizona’s economy by strengthening the available workforce, trained and accredited for the services needed in our community in areas such as construction, information technology and health care.

“One of the primary goals of these workforce development programs is to ensure equitable recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” Edwards said. “Not only will the career coaching, programs and services offered by our community partners enable individuals to learn new skills in their chosen career path and then secure employment with a living wage, but some specialized programs will meet the unique needs of specialized populations and remove common barriers to employment, including child care and transportation.

Board Chairman and District 3 Supervisor Bill Gates said Maricopa County regularly appears on lists of top regions in the United States for attracting skilled workers.
“This funding will make our economy even stronger by helping people who need additional skills or resources to get and keep well-paying jobs,” Gates said. “By partnering with local organizations with a proven track record of job training and coaching, we will provide individuals and families with upward mobility and help in-demand industries get the skilled workers they need. »

The statement pointed out that Maricopa County’s use of ARPA funds had recently been publicly mentioned by President Joe Biden. During a Feb. 15 address to the National Association of Counties’ 2022 Legislative Conference, the president cited Maricopa County’s use of bailout funds to begin training workers in a way which will benefit the economy for years to come.

“You can create pathways to better jobs through union apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training, like Maricopa County,” Biden said as part of his speech. “That’s where they use ARPA funds to help young workers develop in-demand technical skills. You know what the county is going to need.

The following is a list of partner county job seeker agencies receiving ARPA Workforce Development Funds:

• Fondation Arouet, $273,908 for placement, supervision, mentoring, transportation and educational assistance for hundreds of women involved in the justice system.

• Chicanos Por La Causa, $858,324 for vocational assistance to hundreds of low-income workers for education, transportation, certifications and childcare.

• Greater Phoenix Chamber, $461,435 to connect thousands of job seekers with in-demand industries and companies through several hiring and career events.

• Habitat for Humanity, $480,000 to operate a recognized construction apprenticeship program leading to long-term gainful employment in the construction industry.

• Home Builders Inc., $4.18 million to establish and operate a home building academy to encourage unemployed and underemployed people to enter the construction industry.

• Maximus, $2.86 million to provide career navigation and support services, including coaching and skills development, resource navigation, recruitment and outreach to hundreds of job seekers low-income and otherwise disadvantaged.

• St. Joseph the Worker, $1.89 million to deliver its Intensive Workforce Development and Case Management Program which provides workforce services to people who are disadvantaged and at risk for their enable them to find quality employment.

• Televerde, $244,148 to expand its Preparing, Reaching and Transforming Workforce Program for Healthy Success to help hundreds of women involved in justice successfully re-enter the workforce and community. The program operates across the valley through partnerships with more than 90 government and private sector employers.

• UMOM, $1 million for training, education, career navigation, and workforce support services such as child care and transportation to low-income and disproportionately affected people for employment in high-demand industries, including health care and social services.

These Employer Services Initiative partner organizations have also received funding from ARPA:

• Banner Health Foundation, $1.24 million to expand its Career Pathways for Essential Frontline Healthcare Workers program for entry-level healthcare workers that provides shadowing and mentorship opportunities and support services such as transportation and childcare of children.

• St. Joseph the Worker, $376,441 to provide Step-Up job placement, career development and retention services in the construction, health care, social services, manufacturing and construction industries. information technology.

• Tech Talent South, $659,970 to provide incumbent training focused on information technology to up to 150 people.

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