American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

A message regarding ARRA investments from Scott Koch, President – Oregon Workforce Alliance and Judge Steve Grasty, Chair – The Oregon Consortium Board of Directors… the following is an excerpt from correspondence recently sent to all TOC / OWA WIA IB Providers:

"While the stimulus (ARRA) funding brings with it many opportunities it also brings with it a great deal of responsibility. The onus is on us to prove the merits of the publicly funded workforce system during this time of crisis. This letter is intended to communicate our expectations as TOC Board Chair and OWA President regarding the use and deployment of resources in the coming months."

First and foremost, is the biggest concern of Congress, will the workforce system be able to invest and utilize this funding wisely and in a timely fashion? In light of this concern, staff will be setting expenditure expectations which are more aggressive than usual in order to assure appropriate spend rates are achieved within the next six months. Do not marshal resources to spend over the "life of the funds." Funds remaining available after approximately the first six to eight months will be at a major risk of rescission in the future and will also impact future appropriations for the system as well as any hope of reauthorization.

Second, these funds must be used for service delivery – support of infrastructure (bricks and mortar) should be limited. We realize though that you will need to invest in staff, equipment and in many cases space, in order to deliver on these investments. Keeping this in mind – admin staff will be requesting projections of expenses in these categories as part of your contracting and planning documents.

Finally, stimulus funds cannot be folded into regular programming and services. Stimulus investments will be tracked and accounted for separately and Congress will be asking us to identify exactly how these funds were used. It will be essential that we are able to deliver on these requests with visible "stimulus (ARRA) funded" projects and programs, this includes the necessity for a LARGE SUMMER program this summer."

"We realize that we have been given a tall order by Congress, but we also realize that you all have a long history of delivering outstanding programs and services. We look forward to hearing more about your good work over the coming months and specifically are anticipating a report at April’s TOC and OWA Board meetings regarding planning and deployment."

OREGON’S WORKFORCE SYSTEM TO RECEIVE STIMULUS INVESTMENTS TO HELP RURAL CITIZENS

Nearly $4.3 billion was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act specifically for Workforce Investment Act programs. We have been anticipating this investment of resources into our workforce system for nearly two months now and planning by our providers for program augmentation and expansion is well underway.

We are ready to act now during this crisis and plan to:

  • Invest the funds quickly and wisely, in response to the crisis - funds will not be marshaled for the future;
  • Expand and augment current offerings, expanding the bandwidth of our local services;
  • Invest heavily in skills and post-secondary training; and
  • Be ready to report back to Congress and the public regarding the return on their investments (program performance, outcomes, etc.).

For the 24 county area of TOC / OWA – we anticipate the following allocations of funds:

Adult — $1,518,633.00
Youth — $3,465,658.63
Dislocated Workers - $2,831,804.09