State puts $16 million toward COVID-19 response jobs for the jobless

State puts $16 million toward COVID-19 response jobs for the jobless

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In this Tuesday, May 19, 2020, photo, health investigator Mackenzie Bray sits in her office at the Salt Lake County Health Department in Salt Lake City. Bray normally works to track contacts for people with sexually transmitted diseases, but she was re-assigned during the coronavirus pandemic. She is now one of 130 people at this county health department assigned to track down COVID-19 cases in Utah’s urban center around Salt Lake City. The investigators, many of them nurses, each juggle 30 to 40 cases that can include a total of several hundred people. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WCIA) — Federal dollars from the U.S. Department of Labor could connect jobless Illinoisans with work in COVID-19 response efforts.

That was the topic of a Rockford press conference held by Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this morning.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will be distributing $16.6 million in funding from the federal government for “an array of jobs related to the ongoing pandemic response.”

Around 1,300 people will be served by the effort, according to a press release from Pritzker’s office.

Their jobs will “assist local disaster relief programs and industries in high demand amidst the pandemic.”

“Funded positions include COVID-19 recovery-related temporary jobs to help mitigate COVID-19 in communities, such as contact tracers, COVID-19 protocol workers, building sanitization workers, temperature screeners, and food preperation and distribution workers identified by local communities,” the release stated.

Twelve “Local Workforce Innovation Areas” that cover seven regions across the state will receiving the funding, which includes an $8.3 million grant from the federal Disaster Recovery Grant Program and another $8.3 million grant from the federal Employment Recovery Grant Program. The LWIA “represent employers, local government, community colleges and community-based organizations.”

DCEO will partner with local workforce agency partners to assist with filling roles in high need industry areas evolving as a result of COVID-19.  The 1,300 positions represent a mix of new and existing roles – with Disaster Recovery grants supporting contact tracers, community health coordinators, food distribution and emergency pantry workers, and COVID-19 custodians. Employment Recovery grant funds will be leveraged to seek out low-wage dislocated workers and provide vocational training and work-based learning that provides skills and competencies in expanding occupations and industries connected to the COVID-19 response.

Training and hiring for new workforce programs are expected to begin this fall, with the start time of each program varying by location. Participants will either undergo some form of training and/or receive supportive employment services, with many beginning jobs shortly after training is complete. Local workforce agencies will prioritize applicants impacted by layoff or termination during the COVID-19 crisis at the time of their application.

A full list of COVID-19 workforce training grantees as well as their program offerings is available on the DCEO website as well as Get Hired Illinois – the state’s one-stop-shop portal to connect Illinoisans with available training and hiring opportunities with growing industries during the COVID-19 crisis.



September 10, 2020 at 02:13PM

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