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Workforce Development Month: County ARPA investments to support youth development and justice-involved individuals

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    Workforce Development Month: County ARPA investments to support youth development and justice-involved individuals

    Since spring 2020, postsecondary institutions have seen a decline of nearly 1.3 million students, and current youth employment (ages 16-24) rates remain below pre-pandemic levels at 55.3 percent as of July 2022. The ability for youth to access educational pathways and employment opportunities while earning an income is critical to the economic vitality of our country.

    Additionally, workforce training and employment programs are one of the best ways to reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals and reduce recidivism. Evidence shows that incarcerated individuals who participated in vocational and educational training were more than 30 percent more likely to be employed and 40 percent less likely to be rearrested within the first year of being released. Establishing and maintaining services provided through reentry programs is an essential element for safe and secure counties, as well as the economic mobility of millions of Americans.

    Through utilizing the $65.1 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (Recovery Funds) granted to counties through the American Rescue Plan (ARPA), counties have not only addressed immediate workforce shortages, but created long-lasting programs and partnerships.

    In celebration of Workforce Development Month, the National Association of Counties (NACo) is highlighting critical investments counties have made using their ARPA funds in workforce development. This week, NACo is highlighting workforce investments counties have made relating to youth employment and justice-involved individuals.

    Los Angeles County, Calif.

    Los Angeles County invested $87.7 million of its Recovery Funds, in addition to $200 million of its own general funds, for their Care First, Jails Last initiative. The Care First, Jails Last initiative supports community-based diversion and reentry as an alternative to jails, and provides wraparound supports for residents who have struggled to secure employment in the wake of the pandemic.

    Within the initiative, $6 million will be allocated to the Job Readiness, Training and Placements for Adults program that will provide supportive services to assist with reentering the community and partner with employers that can assist the re-entry population and build key skills to find gainful and consistent employment.

    Additionally, Los Angeles County has committed $5 million to increase capacity for the Youth@Work program, which offers youth in priority populations, including but not limited to foster, probation and LGBTQIA+ youth, paid enrichment training and work experience in public, non-profit and private organizations in high-growth industry sectors.

    Cumberland County, Maine

    Cumberland County had designated $100,000 of their Recovery Funds to the Maine Recovery Fund’s (MERF) “A ride to work” project, which helps pay for transportation costs to jobs and job training. MERF is a non-profit that supports employment, integrative and supportive services for people in Cumberland County recovering from substance use disorder and reentering from jail or prison. Jobs are then provided by MaineWorks, a certified B Corporation also located in Cumberland County that places residents in primarily labor-focused jobs that provide long-term employment.

    MERF is essential to providing the holistic approach to helping individuals reenter the workforce by providing access to housing, transportation to work and social services, tangible assets (boots, outerwear and tools), access to social services including physical, mental, and dental healthcare, educational opportunities, outdoor educational experiences and financial literacy courses.

    Over 1,000 individuals have been placed into employment through the partnership between MERF and MaineWorks. You can read MERF’s collection of impact stories here.

    San Diego County, Calif.

    San Diego County is utilizing $5 million of its Recovery Funds to create a Career Pathways program to support foster youth as they search for careers, specifically within the San Diego County Government. The program provides career assessments, employable skills, and financial incentives to current and former foster youth.

    Eligible youth who are enrolled in high school, vocational/certificate programs or a college/university will receive additional financial support (scholarships, educational related expenses, etc.) to ensure continuation and completion of their program while participating in Career Pathways.

    To view more ways counties are investing their Recovery funds, you can view NACo’s Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker. Counties can participate in NACo’s Workforce Development series by sharing their investments in workforce development and job training through this link here.

    Additional Federal Funding Highlight

    While Recovery Funds have served as a crucial element in counties rebuilding their communities throughout the pandemic, two other programs counties strongly support – the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Second Chance Act – also provide critical workforce development funding.

    McDuffie County, Ga.

    With funding from WIOA, McDuffie County has been able to sustain their Youth Works Summer experience to provide lower-income students with soft skills and workplace readiness training. The program includes having students work in positions with custodians at their high school, the maintenance department and the technology department, and interacting with guest speakers including representatives from the National Guard and Augusta Tech.

    The Youth Works Summer experience also includes support to special needs students who may face additional barriers to employment, by having a special education teacher available to work with these students on interpersonal skills, dealing with others, preparing resumes and practicing job interviews. The program sees anywhere from 10 to 18 students participate each year.

    Allegheny County, Pa.

    Using funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Second Chance Act, Allegheny County established the Jail Collaborative, a group of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and community members to improve the transition of people returning home from incarceration through workforce training and job placement.

    This reintegration program screens candidates to address potential issues and strengths and assigns a caseworker to help manage these services. Workforce services include GED and/or adult basic education classes for those who do not have a high school diploma or have a limited literacy, employment and training programs within the jail, and job placement assistance, upon release, for those who participate in employment training. In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work's Center on Race and Social Problems, researchers found that the five-year recidivism rate for participants in the programs was 34 percent compared to 52 percent who weren't.

    Since spring 2020, postsecondary institutions have seen a decline of nearly 1.3 million students, and current youth employment (ages 16-24) rates remain below pre-pandemic levels at 55.3 percent as of July 2022. The ability for youth to access educational pathways and employment opportunities while earning an income is critical to the economic vitality of our country.
    2022-09-15
    Blog
    2022-09-16
Counties are continuing to utilize Recovery Funds to provide a pathway to employment for justice-involved individuals and create new youth development opportunities Several counties have also use federal funding through WIOA and the Second Chance Act to provide critical workforce development programs

Since spring 2020, postsecondary institutions have seen a decline of nearly 1.3 million students, and current youth employment (ages 16-24) rates remain below pre-pandemic levels at 55.3 percent as of July 2022. The ability for youth to access educational pathways and employment opportunities while earning an income is critical to the economic vitality of our country.

Additionally, workforce training and employment programs are one of the best ways to reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals and reduce recidivism. Evidence shows that incarcerated individuals who participated in vocational and educational training were more than 30 percent more likely to be employed and 40 percent less likely to be rearrested within the first year of being released. Establishing and maintaining services provided through reentry programs is an essential element for safe and secure counties, as well as the economic mobility of millions of Americans.

Through utilizing the $65.1 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (Recovery Funds) granted to counties through the American Rescue Plan (ARPA), counties have not only addressed immediate workforce shortages, but created long-lasting programs and partnerships.

In celebration of Workforce Development Month, the National Association of Counties (NACo) is highlighting critical investments counties have made using their ARPA funds in workforce development. This week, NACo is highlighting workforce investments counties have made relating to youth employment and justice-involved individuals.

Los Angeles County, Calif.

Los Angeles County invested $87.7 million of its Recovery Funds, in addition to $200 million of its own general funds, for their Care First, Jails Last initiative. The Care First, Jails Last initiative supports community-based diversion and reentry as an alternative to jails, and provides wraparound supports for residents who have struggled to secure employment in the wake of the pandemic.

Within the initiative, $6 million will be allocated to the Job Readiness, Training and Placements for Adults program that will provide supportive services to assist with reentering the community and partner with employers that can assist the re-entry population and build key skills to find gainful and consistent employment.

Additionally, Los Angeles County has committed $5 million to increase capacity for the Youth@Work program, which offers youth in priority populations, including but not limited to foster, probation and LGBTQIA+ youth, paid enrichment training and work experience in public, non-profit and private organizations in high-growth industry sectors.

Cumberland County, Maine

Cumberland County had designated $100,000 of their Recovery Funds to the Maine Recovery Fund’s (MERF) “A ride to work” project, which helps pay for transportation costs to jobs and job training. MERF is a non-profit that supports employment, integrative and supportive services for people in Cumberland County recovering from substance use disorder and reentering from jail or prison. Jobs are then provided by MaineWorks, a certified B Corporation also located in Cumberland County that places residents in primarily labor-focused jobs that provide long-term employment.

MERF is essential to providing the holistic approach to helping individuals reenter the workforce by providing access to housing, transportation to work and social services, tangible assets (boots, outerwear and tools), access to social services including physical, mental, and dental healthcare, educational opportunities, outdoor educational experiences and financial literacy courses.

Over 1,000 individuals have been placed into employment through the partnership between MERF and MaineWorks. You can read MERF’s collection of impact stories here.

San Diego County, Calif.

San Diego County is utilizing $5 million of its Recovery Funds to create a Career Pathways program to support foster youth as they search for careers, specifically within the San Diego County Government. The program provides career assessments, employable skills, and financial incentives to current and former foster youth.

Eligible youth who are enrolled in high school, vocational/certificate programs or a college/university will receive additional financial support (scholarships, educational related expenses, etc.) to ensure continuation and completion of their program while participating in Career Pathways.

To view more ways counties are investing their Recovery funds, you can view NACo’s Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker. Counties can participate in NACo’s Workforce Development series by sharing their investments in workforce development and job training through this link here.

Additional Federal Funding Highlight

While Recovery Funds have served as a crucial element in counties rebuilding their communities throughout the pandemic, two other programs counties strongly support – the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Second Chance Act – also provide critical workforce development funding.

McDuffie County, Ga.

With funding from WIOA, McDuffie County has been able to sustain their Youth Works Summer experience to provide lower-income students with soft skills and workplace readiness training. The program includes having students work in positions with custodians at their high school, the maintenance department and the technology department, and interacting with guest speakers including representatives from the National Guard and Augusta Tech.

The Youth Works Summer experience also includes support to special needs students who may face additional barriers to employment, by having a special education teacher available to work with these students on interpersonal skills, dealing with others, preparing resumes and practicing job interviews. The program sees anywhere from 10 to 18 students participate each year.

Allegheny County, Pa.

Using funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Second Chance Act, Allegheny County established the Jail Collaborative, a group of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and community members to improve the transition of people returning home from incarceration through workforce training and job placement.

This reintegration program screens candidates to address potential issues and strengths and assigns a caseworker to help manage these services. Workforce services include GED and/or adult basic education classes for those who do not have a high school diploma or have a limited literacy, employment and training programs within the jail, and job placement assistance, upon release, for those who participate in employment training. In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work's Center on Race and Social Problems, researchers found that the five-year recidivism rate for participants in the programs was 34 percent compared to 52 percent who weren't.

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    Economic Mobility Leadership Network

    The Economic Mobility Leadership Network (EMLN) is a NACo cohort of county leaders that facilitates and incubates county-specific discussion and problem-solving on issues of economic mobility and helps county leaders identify and assess their current barriers to mobility and share scalable and transferable programs across the country.
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    <p>Economic mobility refers to changes in an individual&rsquo;s economic status over a lifetime and across generations&mdash;usually measured in income.

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    Community, Economic & Workforce Development Steering Committee

    Responsible for all matters pertaining to housing, community and economic development, public works, and workforce development including the creation of affordable housing and housing options for different populations, residential, commercial, and industrial development, and building and housing codes. Policy Platform & Resolutions 2022-2023 2022 NACo Legislative Priorities
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    <p>Responsible for all matters pertaining to housing, community and economic development, public works, and workforce development including the creation of affordable housing and housing options for different populations, residential,

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