ARP: Hartford CT, Expands Youth Programs to Address Learning Loss and Isolation

Youth Service Corps

Hartford Connecticut Mayor Luke Bronin used $1.5 million in ARPA funding to grow the city’s Youth Service Corps (YSC) which connects young people to part-time, year-long employment opportunities with flexible scheduling. Since its launch in July 2016, the Youth Service Corps has provided over 1,500 Hartford youth with an opportunity to earn a paycheck while engaging in community service-based projects, such as lawn care services, snow removal for senior citizens, and the refurbishment and distribution of donated computers. The ARPA Funds have allowed 100 additional participants per year, allowing the program to serve 350 young people annually.


UNITY Grants

To combat the isolation young people faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Bronin launched the UNITY (Understanding the Needs In Today’s Youth) grant program to support a wide variety of youth programming services and events. Over $3.3 million in ARPA funding has been invested in programs working with youth who are justice-involved, disengaged, or disconnected from their community, through everything from youth sports and the arts to civic engagement, work skills development, computer literacy, mental health and wellness, and mentoring and tutoring.

ARP: New Castle County announced the Creation of School-Based Wellness Centers

 New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced the creation of school-based wellness centers in underserved communities using American Rescue Plan funds. The program will establish wellness centers in four schools to help families and communities address trauma and mental health issues faced throughout the pandemic. The program is a partnership between school districts, county government and the Delaware School-Based Health Alliance, among others. Wellness centers will work together with other school staff, like nurses and psychologists, and community physicians to create plans for managing the health of students or addressing any chronic health problems. While the centers will not provide ongoing mental health services, they will offer initial consultations to help students seeking next steps.

ARP: Boston Announced a $7 Million Investment for City Childcare

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced a $7 million investment for city childcare. The Growing the Workforce fund will support recruiting new educators by funding internships, scholarships, and 800 certificates and degrees for individuals working in the early childhood sector. The grantees will also be offering wraparound support services for early child care workers such as apprenticeship and internship stipends, scholarships and mentorship as well as two to three years of employment after graduation. Funded by the American Rescue Plan, the grants aim to increase childcare jobs in the wake of the pandemic.

As reported by MassLive, “’This is an investment in our families, in our economy and in our future,’ Mayor Wu said during a press conference. ‘For all the working parents who had to struggle to find a center with enough staff to accommodate non-traditional working hours, for all the early childhood educators who struggled to find opportunities that recognize your value and compensate you fairly, for all of our cities children who deserve to be taught, nurtured and given the chance to become the leaders and change-makers you’re destined to be today’s announcement is for you.’”

ARP: Scranton PA, Allocated $1.5 Million to Support Child Care and Literacy Programs

Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti allocated $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds to support child care and literacy programs. Cognetti hopes to expand new and affordable child care options, while also addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic. $750,000 will go to K-12 catchup and assistance programs, $500,000 will go to affordable child care programs, and $250,000 will go to educational programs on literacy and financial literacy.

As reported by the The Times-Tribune, “’We thought that this would be a great place to announce this as our kids are an asset here in Scranton,’ Cognetti said. ‘This $1.5 million is to help them grow and help them catch up from what has been a really tough, tough few years for kids in school and also in the child care space.’ The grants, which will come from the city’s $68.7 million in ARPA funding, will enhance what school districts and other educational entities do, the mayor said.”

ARP: Phoenix AZ, Invests in Jobs of the Future

Prior to the pandemic, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was already working on diversifying its economy with a look towards the jobs of the future. With ARP funds, the city is partnering with community colleges to make it easier for residents to obtain degrees and certificates for high-demand, high-paying jobs. After a tech firm recently chose Phoenix as the location for a new semiconductor factory, Gallego and her team worked with community colleges to provide the right kind of training so that graduates are prepared to get jobs at the semiconductor plant. The Rescue Plan is allowing Phoenix to offer monthly stipends of up to $1,000 to help residents who enroll in courses for high-demand industries, such as technology and health care. The funds can be used to offset costs such as books and child care. And Gallego is particularly focused on ensuring single parents are able to participate.

Gallego launched the Route to Relief program, a partnership with local community colleges to help students enter high-wage careers in essential industries. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we have a unique opportunity to help people enter extremely high-wage careers in Maricopa County,” Gallego said. Using resources from the federal ARP state and local recovery fund, the program will provide eligible students with free tuition, monthly stipends, and employment assistance. Programs range from healthcare to semiconductor manufacturing across 10 Maricopa County Community Colleges and place people in jobs that are crucial to supporting the Arizona economy.

ARP: Lansing MI, Helps Students Graduate on Time

Mayor Andy Schor pledged $400,000 in American Rescue Plan investment to establish new graduation coordinator positions to ensure more students graduate on time. The new position, modeled from a program with a track record of success, will coordinate with students, their families, teachers, and school counselors to make sure students are connected to the support and resources they need to stay on track throughout high school.

ARP: Everett WA, Aims to Expand Access to Child Care Facilities

Mayor Cassie Franklin’s plan recommends investing millions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan to expand access to childcare and early learning opportunities in Everett, Washington. The city could utilize up to $3 million of the ARP money to repurpose city-owned facilities to catalyze childcare and early learning investment and offerings by local organizations. Franklin’s plan also supports childcare and early learning programs through the city’s Everett Forward Grant (EFG) program, which is funded with ARP dollars. Grant awards will support low income childcare, co-op preschool opportunities, the launch of a social enterprise training program for childcare workers, and the construction of a playground that allows a church to open its facility to weekday childcare.

Additionally, in February 2022, Mayor Franklin signed a ten-year lease of a portion of the Everett transit station to provide year-round tuition-free pre-school to sixty 3 – 5-year-olds from low-income households. Franklin estimated that the provider is making a tenfold match of the city’s $700,000 investment, and she stressed the tangible economic difference that the partnership will make on the households served.

Education Investments to Change Lives

Last Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris joined NewDEAL Leader Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other elected officials to launch The Generation Fund, a $50 million investment in the lives of low-income babies and students aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty. The Generation Fund will provide $500 college savings accounts for all babies from low-income families, with a target of creating accounts for 10,000 babies by 2035. In addition, the funding will pay for scholarships of $1000 a year for all low-income public school students pursuing a college degree or a trade certificate with a target of providing scholarships for 20,000 students by 2035. This investment builds on Mayor Schaaf’s long-standing work to invest in vulnerable students through her groundbreaking Oakland Promise program, which address challenges from cradle to college and career. A group of NewDEAL Leaders will have the opportunity to see Oakland’s education work up close, as NewDEAL joins Mayor Schaaf in Oakland on August 29 to talk about quality career pathways and broadband access and discuss lessons learned, best practices, and ideas. Keep your eyes open for posts and takeaways from our trip!

Expanding Black History Education

This week, the Tennessee governor signed a bill co-sponsored by NewDEAL Leader Senator Raumesh Akbari, expanding multiculturalism in the K-12 curriculum with special attention to Black history instruction. Scheduled to be enacted in the 2025-26 school year, the law will help ensure that “students get a well-rounded education that includes every contribution [to American history], whether it’s from someone who’s Black or white, of Mexican heritage, or Asian heritage,” according to Senator Akbari. Read more details about the bill, which comes on the heels of last year’s passage of a law that banned “critical race theory” and the discussion of racial or gender privilege in schools.


Higher Education Partnership to help Black and Latinx students 


In 2013, the City of Boston conducted a study to identify the correlation between the school’s demographics and academic performance in order to achieve better outcomes for Black and Latinx students. The study revealed that students of color make up 40 percent of the district’s enrollment yet maintain lower academic performance than their white and Asian peer groups. The study further reveals that Black, Latinx, and low-income students face inequitable high education and employment success throughout their lives


Through a college completion initiative program, Success Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu, and 15 higher education institutions in Massachusetts are committed to reaching a 70% college completion rate for Boston Public Schools district graduates. Students at Success Boston are 11% more likely than their peers to continue on to their second year of college and 21% more likely to continue on to their third year of college.

Furthermore, Success Boston is prioritizing Black and Latinx students by refining policies, creating stronger programs, and reforming systems to promote equity and close equity gaps. For example, they are working to implement inclusive, asset-based interventions and engage directly with Boston’s residents. Moreover, they are working to promote and coordinate the Success Boston policy agenda across institutions at the city, state, and federal level.