RI Gets $2.3 Million CARES Act Grant to Boost Workforce & Help Dislocated Workers

Thursday, April 16, 2020

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to provide employment and training services to Rhode Islanders who were laid off because of the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, U.S. Representatives David Cicilline and Jim Langevin, and U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, today announced $2,326,005 in federal funding for Rhode Island through Dislocated Worker Grants (DWG).

 

These awards are funded under the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided $345 million in Dislocated Worker Grants for temporary employment and training programs through state and local workforce programs.  The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) will receive the funds, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The DWG funding may be used to assist dislocated workers, workers who were laid-off due to COVID-19, self-employed individuals who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of COVID-19, and long-term unemployed individuals.

 

“As our doctors, nurses, and first responders continue fighting this public health emergency, we need to do everything we can to make sure Rhode Islanders can get back to work once the crisis is over,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This new federal funding provides important resources for working people to get jobs and workforce training.  I used my position at the House Leadership table to help ensure we addressed the needs of furloughed and laid off workers in the last relief package Congress passed.  I will continue advocating to make sure we meet the needs of everyday Rhode Islanders as we all work to flatten the curve.”

 

“My goal is to get Rhode Island’s workforce safely back to work, and this federal funding will help increase training and employment opportunities,” said Senator Reed.  “I worked to include and expand Dislocated Worker Grants in the CARES Act because the federal government must support workers and those struggling with unemployment in their time of need.  This funding will help bolster state workforce development efforts.”

 

“Many Rhode Islanders are hurting right now, and we need plans in place to get everyone working again as quickly as it is safe to do so,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “This federal funding will help job seekers develop new skills as they look to get back into the workforce.”

 

“COVID-19 has taken a toll on Rhode Island's workforce, and it is imperative that we take action to put people on pathways to re-employment,” said Congressman Langevin. “With skyrocketing unemployment numbers, we have to put our workers first. As we work to make it through this difficult time, these funds will be instrumental for preparing workers for jobs that will help respond to community needs and move our state forward.”

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the COVID-19 pandemic a nationwide public health emergency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a coronavirus emergency declaration for Rhode Island on March 31. These federal declarations enabled Rhode Island to be eligible for Disaster Recovery DWGs to RESPOND TO [help address] the workforce-related impacts of this public health emergency.  

 

These DWGs help states address disaster-relief employment issues, as well as employment and training activities.  In addition to these Disaster Recovery DWGs, states and other eligible entities may also apply for Employment Recovery DWGs to provide reemployment services to eligible individuals affected by mass layoffs, such as those resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The purpose of these disaster DWGs is to create temporary jobs for eligible individuals to assist with clean-up, recovery, and humanitarian efforts in areas impacted by disasters or emergency situations as outlined in Section 170(d)(4) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [Section 170(d)(4)]. In the case of the COVID-19 public health emergency, funding could be used for humanitarian assistance, clean-up and mitigation associated with the virus, and job training for industries still hiring during the health emergency.

 

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.

 

Last year, the delegation helped secure $1.3 million in DWG funding for the state to provide disaster relief jobs and employment services to eligible individuals in Rhode Island impacted by the health and economic effects of widespread opioid use, addiction, and overdose.

 

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