ARP: Louisville KY, Pre-Apprenticeship Programs Provides Jobs in Financial Crisis

The White House touted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s efforts on workforce training at a summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce. With $40 million in ARPA funds set aside to support workforce development, the mayor spoke at the event about the growth of Kentuckiana Builds, a pre-apprenticeship program that teaches specialized construction skills. “What so many people need is just a little bit of help, but city governments are strapped financially and what the ARPA funds have been able to do is take our dreams and turn them into reality,” Fischer said. Mayor Fischer hopes the program will help fill the need for construction workers in Louisiana as well as support participants through the financial crisis. Fischer used ARPA funds to serve additional participants, including wraparound services for underinvested communities such as formerly incarcerated individuals.


Equity Initiative: Representative Fentrice Driskell Introduced Legislation to Uncover and Restore Forgotten African American Cemeteries

Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell introduced a bipartisan Abandoned African American Cemeteries bill that would help uncover, maintain, and record forgotten African American cemeteries in the state. She created the task force after learning of a forgotten cemetery in Tampa buried beneath a city-owned housing development and continued to learn of the historic disregard for Black cemeteries that were often unregulated and sold without regard to who was buried there. The bill gained growing support from both Democrats and Republicans. Despite its unanimous support in all of its House committees, HB 1215 did not advance out of the Senate. Driskell was able to secure $750,000 in funding to ensure the topic is taught throughout the state’s curriculum and pledged to continue advocating for and educating the public about abandoned Black cemeteries.


Equity Initiative: Representative Nima Kulkarni Introduces New Legislation to Advance Tenant Protections

Kentucky Representative Nima Kulkarni introduced three bills to enhance tenant protections. Responding to housing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kulkarni introduced bills HB 159 that would expunge any history of eviction from a tenants’ record after one year, HB 160 that would require landlords to keep tenants’ possessions 21 days after an eviction, and HB 152 that would revise a 1970 law known as the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTRA) and would establish consistent rules throughout the state for tenants and landlords. Kulkarni believes that the current version of URLTRA focuses on protecting landlords over tenants, an issue that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We saw this narrative kind of brought up during the pandemic of you know, landlords versus tenants. And that’s not really how this works,” said Kulkarni. “Landlords need tenants, tenants need landlords, everybody has a duty of care to each other.”


Equity Initiative: County Executive Alsobrooks Works to Address Historical Discrimination Against Minority/Women-owned Business

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks made it a priority of her administration to investigate any discriminatory practices in awarding county contracts to minority and women-owned businesses. In October 2022, she released the results of Prince George’s County’s Utilization and Availability Study, also known as the Disparity Study which reported the historical disparities in the use of Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) and their availability in the marketplace. This study found historical disparity in the use of certain Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises and this concrete evidence allows the County to move forward with legislation to “[ensures] minority-and women-owned businesses have equal opportunity to provide goods and services to [the] County,” added Alsobrooks. The County will set regulations requiring potential new businesses to subcontract to a percentage of historically underutilized businesses, with the goal of making small and minority-owned businesses the backbone of the local economy. In addition, Alsobrooks points to the potential for families to build generational wealth in the County with thriving businesses.

ARP: Richmond VA, Investing in Equity Agenda to help Children and Families Thrive

With an eye toward a more inclusive future, Richmond, Virginia is centering an infusion of federal funds on advancing its equity agenda. In this agenda, which the City Council passed unanimously in May 2021, equity is defined as, “empower[ing] people and communities that have experienced past injustices by removing barriers to access and opportunity.” 

Led by Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond is leveraging $155 million from the American Rescue Plan to embrace and advance the city’s commitment to equity. 

Children and Families

The city’s largest investment – $78 million – is focused on children and families. More specifically, much of the funding will go towards community centers, walking trails, and access to green spaces. In fact, the new and refurbished community centers will be within a ten minute walk of 100,000 residents who previously lacked access to such spaces so close to their homes. 

During outreach conversations, community centers were a major desire of Richmond residents. And not just buildings, but spaces that incorporate multi-generational opportunities for all residents. Places where children could play sports during the day, families could receive assistance applying for benefits, and senior citizens could learn computer skills or play Bingo in the evening. 

While looking to the future, Stoney and his team are not neglecting the difficulties some residents continue to face in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to help families with needs such as child care, food, housing costs, or transportation, the city is providing Visa gift cards to families experiencing hardships through a second iteration of the Family Crisis Fund. The direct cash infusion allows families to use the funds on what they need most. 

In order to lift up the struggling child care sector, Richmond once again turned to its equity agenda for guidance. The city will invest $1 million in the stabilization and expansion of high-quality child care programs and preschools. Of this, $500,000 will be made available to eligible nonprofit and charitable organizations through direct grants from the Office of Children and Families; an additional $500,000 will be disbursed by Smart Beginnings of Greater Richmond in order to support private businesses like family day homes that offer these services but are ineligible for grants from the city.


Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney celebrated the opening of a new child care facility, made possible by $300,000 in American Rescue Plan funds. The new center will serve children between the ages of two months and five years, giving Richmond families another option for high-quality care. Overall, Stoney has invested more than $600,000 in federal funding for new child care facilities, allowing more than 200 Richmond families to have access to affordable childcare. Mayor Stoney added, “Every Richmond family with children under 5 deserves to have access to preschool programs that meet their unique needs, including full-day, full-year programs like Sprout School.”



Stoney is also using ARP funds to renovate and improve two of the city’s public housing complexes. The city will spend $6.8 million to redevelop the 68-year-old Creighton Court public housing community, replacing 504 existing units with up to 700 new apartments and homes. This investment will greatly benefit the East End community, and continue the new construction of quality, affordable housing for over 500 families

Another $5.5 million will go towards redeveloping the Highland Grove Redevelopment Project in North Richmond. These dollars will allow for the first phase of this redevelopment – which will ultimately results in 122 new for-sale homes.

ARP: Richmond Invests in Health Care Equity

Mayor Levar Stoney proposed a bold Equity Agenda for the city’s American Rescue Plan allocation and over the summer put these funds into action through the Health Equity Fund and Positive Youth Development Fund. The Health Equity Fund awarded $230,000 in its first round of grants to programs serving vulnerable residents and that also fill in gaps of service, such as providing clinical mental health services in satellite centers directly in the community. In June, the city announced partnerships with 37 youth organizations that will receive grants from the Positive Youth Development Fund to provide positive youth development and youth violence prevention opportunities.

ARP: St. Louis MO, Youth Engagement & Violence Prevention

Mayor Jones invested $5.5 million of American Rescue Plan funds to invest in community organizations working to interrupt cycles of violence through prevention and intervention. In addition to providing employment services, housing, and mental health resources to individuals with justice system involvement, the city also invested in youth violence prevention programs. A portion of the funds will be invested in Project Haki, a violence prevention program that began in the city’s 22nd ward. With the additional funding, Project Haki will be able to support initiatives such as summer programs for children in the community and the reclamation of local parks that have been hot spots for crime and drug use. Additionally, the funds will connect citizens with employment services, mental health resources, and drug rehab centers.

ARP: Sonoma County CA, Invests in Equity Programs

Sonoma County Board Chair James Gore approved $39.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to invest in the county’s Community Resilience Fund to assist those who felt the greatest economic and health disparities during the pandemic. Projects range from training childcare workers to the Small Business Equity & Recovery program, which is targeted at minority-owned businesses. Project proposals must address one of ten identified priority areas, including educational disparities, food assistance, and mental health. The county is encouraging proposals from businesses or nonprofits to promote collaboration, and prioritizing projects that seek to address gaps in education, health, and wealth across racial, ethnic, gender, or geographic lines. A current project making use of the funds is expanding rural broadband to address the disparity in access felt by low-income students.



ARP: Norwalk CT, Expanding Transportation Access

Senator Duff helped structure a state budget that enacted several transit access programs. The fare-free bus program helped riders cope with rising costs and also has contributed to bringing ridership. During the summer, the ParkConneCT and Connecticut Summer at the Museum programs are helping families by incentivizing travel to the state’s parks and offering free fairs to over 130 museums.


Connecticut extended its free bus transportation service until April 1 2023 as a critical service in fighting homelessness, unemployment and increased access to healthcare and human services.  This service continues to provide significant benefits to low- and moderate-income households who were negatively impacted by the pandemic. It has directly assisted residents and reversed declining use of public transportation as a result of the pandemic. Access to transportation has become a foundational element for students and those in the workforce. Approximately 1 in 4 students at Norwalk Community College rely on public transportation to get to their programs.   

Impact Testimony: Residents like Daisy Rodriguez of Hartford use to pay $63 for a 31 -day bus pass.  She said the money she saves can go towards the higher costs of groceries and other necessities. She noted that before the program began, “Sometimes you don’t have the money for the bus fare, and you have to walk.”

ARP: Job Training for Franklin County, Ohio Workers

Commissioner John O’Grady helped approve $11 million in ARP funds to support job training assistance programs, including over $2 million for the Building Futures PreApprenticeship Program. This program provides a pathway for low-income residents to gain employment in the skilled construction trades and provides a stipend as well as supportive services to help residents through the 12 week course.