Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin Brings New Funding to Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program

Connecticut, Harford Mayor Luke Bronin announced new funding to expand the city’s Summer Youth Employment and Learning program. The program helps connect over 800 young people each year with paid summer jobs, and the funding boost will allow the city to expand the program in response to rising workforce needs. These young people will spend the summer exploring potential career options. This program will offer, “young people a really important opportunity to earn a paycheck, build skills and work experience, and get connected to mentors and a network of support,” added Bronin.


Ohio City Council President Shannon Hardin Allocated $2 Million to Help College Students Secure Housing

Columbus, Ohio City Council President Shannon Hardin and fellow city councilmembers allocated $2 million to extend the Success Bridge Housing Stabilization program, which coordinates with community partners to help college students secure housing. The program started as a pilot in 2020 and provided emergency financial assistance and longer-term housing solutions to nearly 100 students. Success Bridge closed earlier this year, but Hardin worked to authorize $1.6 million from the city to pair with $400,000 from the city’s federal Emergency Rental Assistance programs. “Students more often fall behind on rent rather than tuition,” Hardin said. “This is a proven way to keep people in school.”


Massachusetts Representative Andy Vargas Advocates for Universal Free School Meals

Massachusetts: Representative Andy Vargas led the push to make permanent the state’s universal free school meals program that started during the pandemic. Pending Gov. Healey’s signature, the proposals will allocate $56.2 billion in the state’s budget to provide free breakfast and lunch to all K-12 students in Massachusetts, providing much-needed economic relief for families. “For far too long our school meal system left thousands of kids and families behind,” said Vargas. Massachusetts has offered free discounted lunches for low-income students, which has relied on federal funding to cover a part of the cost, but Vargas’s initiative will offer a lasting solution to food insecurity and education.


Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval’s Financial Freedom Blueprint Supports Generational Wealth

Ohio: Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval revealed a “Financial Freedom Blueprint” which includes a partnership with RIP Medical Debt to alleviate debt, which could benefit up to 30,000 residents, and a savings account with an initial deposit of $50 for every child enrolled in Preschool Promise. The blueprint is one step towards addressing the racial wealth gap in Cincinnati and fixing the systemic issues that Black citizens have faced for generations. “A core focus of ours, both the mayor, council and this administration, has been on addressing this fundamental challenge. Growing economic opportunity with racial equity in the center of the frame, and importantly, centered around ownership,” added Pureval. The Blueprint was funded by a $75,000 grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative.

Representative Jordan Harris: Scholarships for Pennsylvanian Students

A bill introduced by NewDEAL Leader Pennsylvania Representative Jordan Harris aims to create a new fund to award scholarships to students whose families make less than $104,000 annually. Scholarships would cover fees not paid by other state grants, and provide up to $4,000 for those attending an eligible higher education institution, or up to $2,000 to students attending a community college. Seventy percent of Pennsylvania’s students take out student loans averaging $39,000 over four years, debt that can be crippling to recent graduates and can deter prospective students from seeking higher education.  Harris’ bill also seeks to alleviate workforce shortages by prioritizing students in programs with high-workforce needs, such as healthcare, education, and public service, and scholarships need not be repaid as long as the student remains in the state for the same length of time it took to complete their studies. Read more about the proposed fund, which has the backing of the state’s governor.

Senator Raumesh Akbari: 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.

Mayor Libby Schaaf: 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!


Oregon: State Representative Janelle Bynum – bipartisan Oregon CHIPS Act

TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION – Oregon: State Representative Janelle Bynum successfully led the passage of her bipartisan Oregon CHIPS Act in the House. The legislation will allocate $190 million to support local businesses applying for federal investments in the semiconductor and microchip manufacturing industries. It also directs $10 million to help public universities compete for federal research grants. By focusing on education and training, Bynum hopes to create new job opportunities and strengthen Oregon’s status as a global leader in the advanced manufacturing sector.

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.