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County supers put $14.5M in ARPA funds into jobs 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 divided among more than a dozen of the county’s partner agencies.

The money is what the county’s Board of Supervisors carved out for workforce development from its overall ARPA allocation of $435 million from Congress. The county’s Human Services Department said, in a news release, the county’s investment in workforce development is one of many such moves in an overarching strategy to help families, individuals and businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Maricopa County residents can follow where the funds go on a public dashboard at Maricopa.gov/Rescue to access assistance and resources.

The board voted unanimously to approve the workforce development funding at its March 9 meeting.

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

“A primary goal 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 empower individuals to attain new skills in their chosen career pathway and then obtain employment with livable wages, some specialty programs will address the unique needs of specialized populations as well as remove common barriers to employment, including child care and transportation.”

Board chair and District 3 Supervisor Bill Gates said Maricopa County regularly shows up on lists of the top areas in the U.S. for attracting skilled workers.
“This funding will make our economy even stronger by assisting folks who need additional skills or resources to secure and maintain a good-paying job,” Gates said. “By partnering with local organizations with proven track records of success in job training and coaching, we’ll give individuals and families upward mobility and help in-demand industries get the skilled workers they need.”

The release pointed out Maricopa County’s use of ARPA funds were recently mentioned publicly by President Joe Biden. At a Feb. 15 speech to the 2022 Legislative Conference of the National Association of Counties, the president cited Maricopa County’s use of the Rescue Plan funds to start training workers in ways that will benefit the economy for years to come.

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

Here’s a list of the county’s job-seeker partner agencies receiving ARPA workforce development funds:

• Arouet Foundation, $273,908 for job placement, coaching, mentorship, transportation, and education assistance to hundreds of justice-involved women.

• Chicanos Por La Causa, $858,324 for career assistance to hundreds of low-income workforce members for education, transportation, certifications, and child care.

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

• Habitat for Humanity, $480,000 to operate a recognized Construction in Training 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 persons to enter the construction industry.

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

• St. Joseph the Worker, $1.89 million to provide its Intensive Workforce Development and Case Management Program that provides workforce services to disadvantaged and at-risk persons to find quality employment.

• Televerde, $244,148 to expand its Prepare, Achieve and Transform for Healthy Success workforce program to assist hundreds of justice-involved women successfully reenter the workforce and the community. The program operates across the Valley through partnerships with more than 90 government and private-sector employers.

• UMOM, $1 million for training, education, job navigation and workforce assistance services such as child care and transportation to low-income and disproportionately-impacted persons for employment in high-demand industries including healthcare and social services.

These employer services initiative partner agencies also received ARPA funds:

• Banner Health Foundation, $1.24 million to expand its Career Pathways for Essential Frontline Healthcare Workers program for entry-level health care staff that offers job shadowing and mentorships opportunities and support services such as transportation and childcare.

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

• Tech Talent South, $659,970 to provide information technology-focused Incumbent Worker Training to as many as 150 individuals.