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Counties and the American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Fund: Workforce Development

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    Counties and the American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Fund: Workforce Development

    THE RECOVERY FUND AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

    The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund), part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which NACo helped to develop and strongly advocated to pass, allocates $65.1 billion. These funds provide direct, flexible aid for every county, parish and borough in America. Counties are on the front lines in delivering this aid to residents and are a driving force connecting communities and strengthening the economy.

    As directed by the ARPA and the U.S. Department of Treasury, counties can invest Recovery Funds into a broad range of programs, services and projects under five categories to: support the public health response; address negative economic impacts caused by COVID-19; replace lost revenue; provide premium pay to essential workers; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

    Since the enactment of the ARPA, America’s counties have been working hard to develop Recovery Fund implementation plans that will help spur an equitable economic recovery across the nation. As sound financial stewards, counties are investing these critical Recovery Funds to ensure the health and well-being of our nation’s residents and the economic vitality of our local communities. Many counties are in the preliminary stages of development and implementation of Recovery Fund Plans. This report highlights county investments to connect residents with stable job opportunities, expand job training assistance and provide support to emerging industries in the community.

    COUNTIES ACROSS THE NATION FACE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT

    Across the nation, counties have experienced high unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, over 300 counties experienced an unemployment rate of 10 percent or higher. The Recovery Fund provides counties the opportunity to bolster and strengthen the local workforce.

    View in Fullscreen

    Source: NACo Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics - Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS).

    COUNTIES ARE INVESTING RECOVERY FUNDS TO:

    COUNTIES ARE PRIORITIZING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH KEY INVESTMENTS

    How are counties investing the funds? NACo analysis of 200 county ARPA Recovery Fund plans reveals county-designed investments in the community across key areas of need. These local priorities are found within county plans at the rate displayed in the chart, e.g. 46 percent of county plans include investments in workforce and employment. The darker bars are the investment categories adjacent to workforce and employment that support the continuation and expansion of services in counties. The examples in this report further illustrate the allocations to support workforce development on the local level.

    Note: NACo analysis of 200 county Recovery Plan Performance Reports from counties with a population of 250,000 and above, as required by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Analysis is as of Nov. 19, 2021. While the bar chart sources Recovery Plans, the narrative examples in this report draw from a variety of resources including the Recovery Plans, press releases and other official documents.

    ANCHORAGE BOROUGH, ALASKA

    Anchorage Borough is connecting workers to job opportunities through the “Alaska Works” partnership. The funding will hire two recruitment and retention specialists to work with local high schools and provide basic skills training and career coaching to residents. An additional $14,500 will be used to create a user-friendly job search tool that will help both workers and businesses recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

    BOULDER COUNTY, COLO.

    Boulder County is supporting resident employment by utilizing $385,000 in Recovery Funds to hire four additional “Employment Advisors” to meet one on one with the public and connect them to job opportunities. The county is also allocating $370,000 for the Workforce Boulder County Virtual Call Center to address the increased needs of unemployed residents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    DELAWARE COUNTY, PA.

    Delaware County is addressing the loss of employment opportunities due to the economic slowdown through a comprehensive workforce program initiative. The project will provide grants to small businesses to provide sign on bonuses for new hires; grants to unemployed caregivers to allow them to look for and return to work; and digital literacy training programs focused on underserved communities.

    DANE COUNTY, WIS.

    Dane County is expanding the community’s job training capacity through a partnership with the Badger Prairie Needs Network (BPNN). The county will invest $2 million in Recovery Funds to support the BPNN’s building expansion and job training initiative. The new site will be used as a gathering space for job training sessions focused on underserved communities and bolster the economic mobility and financial stability of residents as they continue to navigate the public health crisis.

    KERN COUNTY, CALIF.

    Kern County is improving job training opportunities in the restaurant industry through a $150,000 allocation of Recovery Funds. The training will provide career opportunities and require mastery of entry-level skills related to food preparation and service. The goal of the program is to enroll 50 students per session and support local workers as they re-enter the workforce.

    PIMA COUNTY, ARIZ.

    Pima County is assisting students and low-income workers by investing $3 million in the county’s “JobPath” program. The program provides household assistance to ensure that residents do not face economic barriers when pursuing their chosen training program, including case management services and financial aid. This investment is critical for the economic recovery of the community and to help the county adapt to the changing labor market.

    PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD.

    Prince George’s County is helping local businesses through a Rapid Re-Employment Grant initiative supported by $9 million in Recovery Funds. The initiative provides grants to businesses who hire or rehire unemployed county residents that were previously laid off due to the pandemic. The grants will cover 50-75% of the employee’s salary for twelve weeks depending on the size of the business.

    RAMSEY COUNTY, MINN.

    Ramsey County is utilizing approximately $2 million to support the “Right Track Plus” workforce development program. The program will serve up to 300 young adults impacted by COVID-19 by providing them with internships and professional development opportunities.

    ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.H.

    Rockingham County is expanding job training assistance programs with $2.7 million in Recovery Funds. The funding will support LNA, MNA and LPN training programs, employee scholarships and new hire incentives for critical county positions that have lost employees during the pandemic. The county is utilizing this crucial support from the ARPA to attract and retain employees in key positions.

    SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLA.

    Seminole County will provide workforce training classes through Seminole State College that will benefit both individuals and businesses in the community. The college offers five short-term vocational workforce training programs focused on emerging industries. The county will also work with the college to identify workforce shortages in various public trades that can be bolstered during the county’s pandemic recovery.

    TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS

    Travis County is helping individuals displaced from the pandemic by providing workforce development programs that help residents find more stable, high-paid careers. The $6.7 million allocation will give individuals professionally managed career training scholarships, cash stipends for those in training and additional support such as childcare scholarships and emergency housing support.

    TULSA COUNTY, OKLA.

    Tulsa County is targeting residents affected by the economic downturn through a $790,000 investment in “Retrain Tulsa.” The workforce training program includes in-person and online interventions that will focus on career exploration, skills assessment and training. The funding will also assist the county in developing new strategies to accommodate the increased need from the pandemic.

    Across the nation, counties have experienced high unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, over 300 counties experienced an unemployment rate of 10 percent or higher. The Recovery Fund provides counties the opportunity to bolster and strengthen the local workforce
    2022-02-24
    Reports & Toolkits
    2022-07-18

THE RECOVERY FUND AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund), part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which NACo helped to develop and strongly advocated to pass, allocates $65.1 billion. These funds provide direct, flexible aid for every county, parish and borough in America. Counties are on the front lines in delivering this aid to residents and are a driving force connecting communities and strengthening the economy.

As directed by the ARPA and the U.S. Department of Treasury, counties can invest Recovery Funds into a broad range of programs, services and projects under five categories to: support the public health response; address negative economic impacts caused by COVID-19; replace lost revenue; provide premium pay to essential workers; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.

Since the enactment of the ARPA, America’s counties have been working hard to develop Recovery Fund implementation plans that will help spur an equitable economic recovery across the nation. As sound financial stewards, counties are investing these critical Recovery Funds to ensure the health and well-being of our nation’s residents and the economic vitality of our local communities. Many counties are in the preliminary stages of development and implementation of Recovery Fund Plans. This report highlights county investments to connect residents with stable job opportunities, expand job training assistance and provide support to emerging industries in the community.

COUNTIES ACROSS THE NATION FACE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT

Across the nation, counties have experienced high unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, over 300 counties experienced an unemployment rate of 10 percent or higher. The Recovery Fund provides counties the opportunity to bolster and strengthen the local workforce.

View in Fullscreen

Source: NACo Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics - Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS).

COUNTIES ARE INVESTING RECOVERY FUNDS TO:

COUNTIES ARE PRIORITIZING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH KEY INVESTMENTS

How are counties investing the funds? NACo analysis of 200 county ARPA Recovery Fund plans reveals county-designed investments in the community across key areas of need. These local priorities are found within county plans at the rate displayed in the chart, e.g. 46 percent of county plans include investments in workforce and employment. The darker bars are the investment categories adjacent to workforce and employment that support the continuation and expansion of services in counties. The examples in this report further illustrate the allocations to support workforce development on the local level.

Note: NACo analysis of 200 county Recovery Plan Performance Reports from counties with a population of 250,000 and above, as required by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Analysis is as of Nov. 19, 2021. While the bar chart sources Recovery Plans, the narrative examples in this report draw from a variety of resources including the Recovery Plans, press releases and other official documents.

ANCHORAGE BOROUGH, ALASKA

Anchorage Borough is connecting workers to job opportunities through the “Alaska Works” partnership. The funding will hire two recruitment and retention specialists to work with local high schools and provide basic skills training and career coaching to residents. An additional $14,500 will be used to create a user-friendly job search tool that will help both workers and businesses recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

BOULDER COUNTY, COLO.

Boulder County is supporting resident employment by utilizing $385,000 in Recovery Funds to hire four additional “Employment Advisors” to meet one on one with the public and connect them to job opportunities. The county is also allocating $370,000 for the Workforce Boulder County Virtual Call Center to address the increased needs of unemployed residents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DELAWARE COUNTY, PA.

Delaware County is addressing the loss of employment opportunities due to the economic slowdown through a comprehensive workforce program initiative. The project will provide grants to small businesses to provide sign on bonuses for new hires; grants to unemployed caregivers to allow them to look for and return to work; and digital literacy training programs focused on underserved communities.

DANE COUNTY, WIS.

Dane County is expanding the community’s job training capacity through a partnership with the Badger Prairie Needs Network (BPNN). The county will invest $2 million in Recovery Funds to support the BPNN’s building expansion and job training initiative. The new site will be used as a gathering space for job training sessions focused on underserved communities and bolster the economic mobility and financial stability of residents as they continue to navigate the public health crisis.

KERN COUNTY, CALIF.

Kern County is improving job training opportunities in the restaurant industry through a $150,000 allocation of Recovery Funds. The training will provide career opportunities and require mastery of entry-level skills related to food preparation and service. The goal of the program is to enroll 50 students per session and support local workers as they re-enter the workforce.

PIMA COUNTY, ARIZ.

Pima County is assisting students and low-income workers by investing $3 million in the county’s “JobPath” program. The program provides household assistance to ensure that residents do not face economic barriers when pursuing their chosen training program, including case management services and financial aid. This investment is critical for the economic recovery of the community and to help the county adapt to the changing labor market.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD.

Prince George’s County is helping local businesses through a Rapid Re-Employment Grant initiative supported by $9 million in Recovery Funds. The initiative provides grants to businesses who hire or rehire unemployed county residents that were previously laid off due to the pandemic. The grants will cover 50-75% of the employee’s salary for twelve weeks depending on the size of the business.

RAMSEY COUNTY, MINN.

Ramsey County is utilizing approximately $2 million to support the “Right Track Plus” workforce development program. The program will serve up to 300 young adults impacted by COVID-19 by providing them with internships and professional development opportunities.

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.H.

Rockingham County is expanding job training assistance programs with $2.7 million in Recovery Funds. The funding will support LNA, MNA and LPN training programs, employee scholarships and new hire incentives for critical county positions that have lost employees during the pandemic. The county is utilizing this crucial support from the ARPA to attract and retain employees in key positions.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLA.

Seminole County will provide workforce training classes through Seminole State College that will benefit both individuals and businesses in the community. The college offers five short-term vocational workforce training programs focused on emerging industries. The county will also work with the college to identify workforce shortages in various public trades that can be bolstered during the county’s pandemic recovery.

TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS

Travis County is helping individuals displaced from the pandemic by providing workforce development programs that help residents find more stable, high-paid careers. The $6.7 million allocation will give individuals professionally managed career training scholarships, cash stipends for those in training and additional support such as childcare scholarships and emergency housing support.

TULSA COUNTY, OKLA.

Tulsa County is targeting residents affected by the economic downturn through a $790,000 investment in “Retrain Tulsa.” The workforce training program includes in-person and online interventions that will focus on career exploration, skills assessment and training. The funding will also assist the county in developing new strategies to accommodate the increased need from the pandemic.

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About Sarah Edwards (Full Bio)

Research Associate

Sarah is a research associate in the Counties Futures Lab. She is responsible for analyzing economic, demographic and other county level datasets for NACo’s County Explorer. Before joining NACo, Sarah worked as a graduate research assistant with the Metropolitan Policy Center.

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