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 used 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.

ARP: Providence RI, Promotes Youth Mentoring and Training Opportunities

Providence is using ARP funds to address youth violence through mentoring and job training programs. The city has allocated a total of $4.6 million towards these efforts. In the city’s initial round of ARP funding, $1.1 million was dedicated to youth mentoring programs, to both reduce youth violence as well as address chronic absenteeism in school, according to WPRI. Providence faced a sharp increase in chronic absenteeism, defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days, during the pandemic.

An additional $1 million is going to year-round jobs for youth, while Mayor Jorge Elorza ensured an additional $2 million in the city’s second tranche of ARP funding went toward youth mentoring and youth jobs programs. Organizations such as the Refugee Dream Center, Inspiring Minds, Boys and Girls Club of Providence, and many others, partnered with the city to provide youth jobs paying at least $15 per hour. 


As of July, the city’s mentorship program has received 27 unique applications from different organizations. The youth anti-violence programs have served 300 youth to date and expect to reach an additional 50 young people by the end of the year. Furthermore, youth involved in the jobs programs have worked over 25,000 hours and received more than $400,000 in total wages.

ARP: Lewiston ME, Recognizes Work of Caregivers

The work of caregivers can often be a labor of love. And all too often, that work is unpaid labor. One study estimates that, in 2017, Maine residents provided 152 million hours of unpaid care, worth $2.2 billion. State Rep. Kristen Cloutier (D-Lewiston) spearheaded legislation to address the issue. As part of the state’s plan to use American Rescue Plan funds, Maine will allocate $5.1 million to implement a Family Caregiver Grant pilot program.

The funding will increase the number of families served by the Respite Care Fund, alleviate costs associated with providing in-home care of an adult, and provide a family caregiver grant to increase economic security for family caregivers. Part of the funding will provide $2,000 annual grants to caregivers who do not otherwise receive payment for caring for a person. “This issue is personal for me. I was a family caregiver until my mom passed away in 2018 from Alzheimer’s disease,” Cloutier said. “It is time we finally recognize caregiving as the valuable work that it is. The Family Caregiver Grant Pilot Program is an important step in providing caregivers with the financial support they need and deserve, and I am so grateful that we will be able to use federal relief funds to run this pilot program.”


In continuing to build a robust support network for workers, Representative Kristen Cloutier championed another bill that created the Strengthening Maine’s Workforce Program, funded by ARP dollars. This program will provide $3.2 million in grants to 9 adult education programs focused on addressing educational and workforce gaps and will provide new opportunities for Mainers disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The program will partner with education partners and employers in industries in need of workers and provide workforce training as well as English language acquisition services.

ARP: Credentials for Oakland County, Michigan Workers

County Executive Dave Coulter is investing nearly $3 million from the American Rescue Plan in Oakland80, an ambitious plan to help 80 percent of county residents obtain a post-high school degree or credential by 2030, up from 61 percent in 2022.

The federal dollars will fund up to twelve “career navigators” who work in communities throughout the county to counsel residents about education and training opportunities. 

In late November, the county announced a portion of ARP funds will help essential workers receive their associate’s degree or complete a credentialing program. The state’s Futures for Frontliners program provides scholarships for tuition costs to community colleges, and federal funds will help cover the costs of books, supplies, and other related expenses for Oakland County residents. 

In addition to attracting businesses to Oakland County, the Oakland80 program is about “getting our residents the skills they need to get hired for good paying jobs that will boost the quality of life for themselves and their families,” Coulter said. “The infusion of American Rescue Plan funding has allowed us to significantly boost this program and that is truly a win-win for Oakland County’s residents and businesses.”

The Oakland80 is only part of the $9.6 million of ARP funding Oakland County is spending to support businesses and residents getting back to work. The county is putting $1.5 million towards programs to assist individuals who face financial barriers to participating in career credentialing and higher education programs. Within a month of launching the program, more than 30 people applied for funding to help pay for items from work boots to books.

The county anticipates assisting more than 6,500 residents with this program. An additional $1.2 million will go towards supporting child care for individuals disproportionately impacted by COVID. Up to 1,000 families can apply for the $1,200 child care scholarships, allowing families to return to work. As of early February 2022, more than 400 families had applied.


The program launched in May 2022, hiring six Career and Education Navigators to work in communities throughout Oakland County to support people in finding fulfilling careers. These navigators help provide assistance to get into college or a training program, as well as connections to other wraparound services to navigate other obstacles. They also serve to connect students and adult learners with employers with job opportunities, as well as colleges. Additionally, the county has approved $1.2 million to support over 300 families with childcare scholarships for residents who are juggling work, education, or training and struggling to afford licensed child care; and $1.5 million to help residents who are facing barriers to getting a college degree or training certificate.


Impact Testimony:

  • The navigators assisted a low-income single mother and post-secondary student, who was working part-time as a housekeeper. Because of COVID, the hospitality industry was hit hard, and the woman had her hours reduced. She had difficulty keeping up with payments and fell behind on her utilities. The staff was able to assist with supportive services and other resources so that she could stay in her housing, pay her utilities and continue her education and training. She received an associate’s degree last year, got a job as a Child Care Specialist and enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work program in the fall.
  • An unemployed youth completed a 12-week Robotics training at Oakland Community College that was paid for through a partnership with Oakland County Michigan Works! When he graduated from the training, he was offered a job as an auto body collision apprentice, with Oakland80 purchased the tools for him. He got the job once the apprenticeship was over.
  • A part-time employee and full-time post-secondary student was on the verge of having to drop out of school in her last semester of an associate’s degree program in nursing because of an accumulated student loan debt of more than $4,500. An honor student, Oakland80 and Michigan Works teamed up to help cover the tuition costs, fees, loan debt, books, testing and licensing. She received a Registered Nurse License from the State of Michigan in July and found employment at a hospital in August.

New Home Ownership Program to Help those Affected by Redlining


In Denver, communities of color have a long history of exclusion, with redlining and other discriminatory practices prohibiting where they could live, impacting employment, education, and homeownership opportunities. Currently, there’s 54% homeownership among white households, while it’s under 41% for households of color.



Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced a new social equity program to increase homeownership in communities of color. This initiative will assist residents directly impacted by redlining and gentrification with down payment assistance, such as interest-free loans that are forgiven after three years.


St. Louis creates LGBTQIA+ Advisory Board to guide city initiative


Across the country member of the LGBTQIA+ community experience discrimination, have their basic rights violated, and face healthcare disparities. It is important that these communities are empowered and have more representation and to advocate for the resources they need.


St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones established an LGBTQIA+ Advisory Board council to help increase the community’s representation and empower their voice. The council will provide resources and attention to issues directly related to and affecting LGBTQUIA+ communities, as well as policy work aimed to target discrimination and transgender advocacy. The Advisory Board will also develop reports on the disparities and make recommendations for the city to take action to implement the solutions they identify.


Michigan Creates Racial Disparities Task Force


In 2020 Michigan health experts noticed African Americans were being infected and dying by the Coronavirus at an alarmingly higher rate than the overall population. This health disparity is not limited to the Covid-19 pandemic, but has been ongoing for decades.


Responding to the historic health disparities in African American communities highlighted by the pandemic, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist created the Michigan Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force. The task force identified several issues leading to poor health outcomes including, the limited health insurance options, few accessible primary care physicians, and the lack of access to reliable broadband which leaving Michiganders with no access to telemedicine services. The task force and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have partnered to create and release recommendations to address the inequalities facing Black Michiganders. A budget proposal of $20 million was approved to help reduce the disparity for the present and future health crises. These funds will provide and maintain testing infrastructure in marginalized communities, promote primary care connection to decrease the amount of uninsured and underinsured individuals, and also develop equity workshops.