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American Rescue Plan Act


Workforce

Overview

Unemployment climbed sharply at the onset of the pandemic and businesses experienced supply chain interruptions and staffing concerns. Many of small businesses continued to struggle due to the economic impacts of COVID – 19. Various programs below provide resources to businesses to continue operations and programs also provide training opportunities for those that lost their jobs during the downturn.

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Workforce Training Facility and Training Program

This program leverages funding from IDA, PCDIC, Maricopa County and the Arizona Community Foundation to purchase and rehabilitate the old Kmart Building. Arizona State University, Maricopa Community Colleges and WestMec would take over all ongoing operations and maintenance. The facility will be used to create workforce training programs to assist the huge service sector job loss that occurred in this area of the City.


The corridor where this building is located is consistently a source of violent crime, prostitution, drug use, trespassing, blight and other quality of life concerns. The ease of access to this area, along with challenging hotels, motels and apartment complexes, several of which are immediately north, have created an area where crime can flourish with few impediments. These challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic as this segment of the community was hit much harder than others due to density, distrust of government, and loss of service sector jobs that are the primary source of employment in the area. This area is also in a Qualified Census Track. Utilizing the building for workforce programs will improve the safety and quality of this neighborhood and bring pandemic- and downturn-resistant employment training to the community.


There is strong evidence that vocational training can help dislocated workers regain employment. As such, participants will self-attest as part of their application their negative economic COVID-19 impact, such as job and income loss. Supportive services are also recommended in programs like this, and participants will receive support to limit barriers to accessing training and employment.


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Workforce Wraparound Tuition/Apprentice Program

For this program, $8.5 million will be used to offer free training and education to residents who have been impacted by the pandemic in the hardest hit industries of hospitality, food service, retail, and families with young children. The program will offer short-term and long-term training in fields, such as bioscience, healthcare, construction, IT, and more (industries negatively impacted by the pandemic). Participants enrolled in training will receive monthly financial assistance to help with emergency expenses such as transportation and childcare. Additionally, $1.5 million will be used to partner with a community-based organization to expand workforce services with a focus on families with young children. The organization will target families not enrolled at a Maricopa Community College.


There is strong evidence that vocational training can help dislocated workers regain employment. As such, participants will self-attest as part of their application their negative economic COVID-19 impact, such as job and income loss. Supportive services are also recommended in programs like this, and participants will receive support to limit barriers to accessing training and employment.


Learn more about the program and how to apply.

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Micro and Small Business Assistance Program

Based on lessons learned from the CRF program, the micro and small business programs were combined. Award amounts range from $3K to 15k and are based on the applicant's number of employees. Funds assist businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and/or are located in Qualified Census Tracts. Many businesses struggled to stay open due to the pandemic and these resources allowed businesses to stay open, pay employees, and cover operational costs due to the downturn in business. All eligible businesses completed an online application process to demonstrate need.


For more information about this program and to apply for a grant, please visit the Micro and Small Business Assistance Program website.


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Library Technology, Capital, and Staff Support

Funds will provide technological and capital enhancements identified by Library staff including but not limited to online catalog enhancements, tablets and hotspots for lending and onsite use, outdoor signage upgrades, and automated materials handler replacement at Mesquite Library.


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Nonprofit Arts & Culture Stabilization Grants

This program provided two-years of funds to help nonprofit arts and culture organizations manage their operations, personnel, and programming as they welcome back audiences, guests, and patrons to their services. The program awarded recovery grants to eligible organizations of all sizes who demonstrate intent, commitment, and strategies to sustain well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations must have been in operation prior to March 1, 2020 and had to complete an online application process to demonstrate need.


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Small Business Workforce Program

This program provides assistance to small businesses (less than 100 employees) in Phoenix through. PHXb!zConnect, an exclusive-for-Phoenix businesses social media platform, gives small business owners connections to each other, business webinars, and city resources. This program also provides grant funding for small business training programs and/or demonstration projects that benefit the Phoenix entrepreneurial/small business community.


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St. Joseph the Worker’s Workforce Village Program

Expansion of St. Joseph the Worker’s Workforce Village program to support services that assist individuals experiencing homelessness with finding full-time employment and managing finances.



StartupPHX @ Burton Barr

Funds will be used to provide a broader range of services to the community by expanding the Hive @ Central. The expansion would include the addition of two meeting rooms, a graphics station, and technical assistance for small business owners. For programming, funds would be used to contract with a vendor to provide the Business Roadmap and MAPA Para Us Negocio series for teens and adults. The contracted vendor would be responsible for curriculum development and facilitating all sessions in English and Spanish.


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Artists to Work

This program enables the City to contract artists to develop temporary projects, installations, and performances. These commissions would reactivate a wide range of public spaces, including parks, trails, community centers, and neighborhood areas not usually defined or programmed as cultural spaces. Four mural projects have been created in various parts of the city to date. The Office of Arts and Culture has devised a program plan for the remainder of funds, including artist project grants, an artist roster, and artist residencies.


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Arts Career Advancement Grants

Grants support working artists or arts workers who have experienced job loss, indefinitely postponed or canceled events and residencies, or terminated contracts due to the pandemic. Program funds provides financial assistance, support services to grow artistic skills, equipment or business operations recovery costs, and participation in an exhibit, festival, vendor showcase, or artist residency.


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Arts and Culture Internship Program

This two-year program will allow nonprofit arts and culture organizations and for-profit creative industries to hire full-time interns for 400 hours. The internships provide undergraduate students with meaningful on-the-job training and experience working in the cultural sector. The program ultimately strengthens Phoenix's workforce by providing access to high-quality opportunities for college students of all backgrounds to gain experience, understanding, and transferable skills relevant to careers in and out of the arts, the creative economy, and engagement in public life. The program launched the first round in April 2022, and 23 organizations were awarded funds to hire student workers after July 1. The second round will launch in spring 2023.


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CED Support Staff

Funding will allow the Community and Economic Development Department to continue temporary positions to support current ARPA programming, including the Digital Divide Program.

Personnel/Technical Assistance

Funds allow for continued technical assistance and professional development in financial sustainability, business practices, and reopening strategies. The Office of Arts and Culture has conducted several workshops for the field, offered scholarships to the statewide nonprofit alliance conference, and contracted with consultants to conduct a comprehensive asset mapping of neighborhoods in Phoenix that have received limited arts support from the City. An overarching goal of the Office of Arts and Culture is "to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented marginalized groups' full participation from the agency's programs and to strengthen equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts and culture sector for all Phoenix residents," the results from asset mapping the community will clarify what strengths to build from and what challenges exist in developing and growing arts programming for community members.


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Mobile Career Unit

In collaboration with job seekers and hiring employees, the City developed the Mobile Career Unit (MCU) initiative to help hiring companies connect with the Phoenix workforce, including those with barriers to employment. The MCU is a mobile unit that can be dispatched anywhere in the City and is available to assist residents facing challenges when seeking employment and to provide them with opportunities to connect with employers in their individual neighborhoods. The MCU will also provide access to employment and supportive services through partnerships with community-serving organizations and programs.


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PHXWorks at Burton Barr and Ocotillo

Funds will be used to expand the PHXWorks space on the second floor of the Burton Barr Central Library. PHXWorks supports residents in their job searches, career development goals, and on their path to becoming career-ready and part of the workforce. As part of the expansion, a new meeting room will be added for workforce programming, and smaller study room spaces will be added that can be used by community partners to provide one on one services, or by customers to conduct workforce related business, such as online interviewing. In addition, a new study room space will also be added at the Ocotillo Library that can be used by community partners to provide one on one services, or by customers to conduct workforce related business, such as online interviewing.