LINCOLN–(News Release Mar. 10)–The City of Lincoln, Lancaster County and community partners today marked the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) by awarding about $12 million in grants to six local agencies for workforce development over the next three years:
Exact figures are not yet available. The $12 million includes contingency funds as well as administrative and audit costs.
“Ensuring workers have access to rewarding and financially secure careers that enable them to provide for themselves and their families is a top priority,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “Ensuring businesses and organizations can secure the workforce they need to be successful and grow our local economy is an equally important priority. Backing these priorities with significant funding from the American Rescue Plan is a win-win for Lincoln’s workers and employers. These awards represent major investments in workforce development for key industries in our community including childcare, the health sciences, information technology, manufacturing, welding, and youth employment.”
“The Lancaster County Board is proud to partner with the City of Lincoln to continue to drive our local economic recovery through this historic allocation of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act that will prepare our local workforce for the opportunities of today and beyond,” said Deb Schorr, Chair of the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners. “Our investment in workers at all stages of professional development, including a substantial commitment to our youth, will pay future dividends for generations of local families and will guarantee the continued and sustained growth of Lancaster County.”
A Nebraska Department of Labor study and a business survey conducted by Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force identified a lack of applicants and need for employment experience as needs in the community and state. The Task Force recommendations include providing opportunities for upskilling and reskilling workers displaced by the pandemic. The City and County announced the availability of the competitive grant funding in August.
Mayor Gaylor Baird thanked the committee that reviewed all 19 grant applications received and made recommendations for approval. This group included the co-chairs of the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force – Ava Thomas, President and Publisher of the Lincoln Journal Star, and Angie Muhleisen, President and CEO of Union Bank and Trust.
Whenever possible, training participants will be co-enrolled with Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act programs for other services, including job placement. Gaylor Baird said this will make the administration of the ARP funds more efficient and effective.
This funding is a part of an overall strategic plan by the City and Lancaster County to deploy ARP funds, which must be spent in the next three years and may not be used for tax relief or pension funding. To date, ARP funds have provided nearly $7 million in assistance to over 250 small businesses, representing over 2,800 employees. County dollars have provided funding to 30 nonprofits to help meet basic needs like food, housing, utilities, mental health, childcare, racial equity, and victim safety. Additional funding will be used to enhance public health, rural water service, and broadband development.
For more information, visit lincoln.ne.gov/ARP.