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Nevadaworks receives big grant to help workers

WASHINGTON – A Northern Nevada workforce training program was one of 32 selected by the Biden administration to receive a portion of $500 million from the American Rescue Plan to be announced today, officials said late Tuesday.

Nevadaworks will receive $14.9 million for a program that aims to help underserved, rural and tribal communities with education, training and a commitment from companies to hire people who complete courses.

“This award is for all of us,” said a jubilant Milton Stewart of Nevadaworks during a virtual media conference arranged through the White House and headed by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.

A jubilant Stewart and his staff were sitting around a conference table in Nevada as the only group participating in the media Zoom presentation.

The Nevadaworks proposal was one of 32 selected from a pool of 509 applicants for the competitive grant funding under the American Rescue Plan that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden following the coronavirus pandemic.

Nevada’s proposal included participation from colleges, local libraries, organized labor, state and local government agencies, the InterTribal Council as well as private companies in health care, information technology, manufacturing, transportation distribution and logistics.

“This is an incredible investment in our workforce,” Cortez Masto said on the media conference call.

“I can tell you that this investment can be vital to the growth of a diverse, well-trained workforce in Northern Nevada,” Cortez Masto said.

Raimondo said that as the country recovered from the pandemic, which shuttered schools and businesses, workers with four-year college degrees were better able to rejoin the workforce. That wasn’t the case for those without specialized skills.

Raimondo said the goal of the Good Jobs Challenge competitive grant program was to bring employers to the table, create workforce training programs and help workers “secure jobs in growing essential industries and accelerate regional economic development post pandemic with the initiative.”

The Nevadaworks proposal included all-encompassing support from the region: governments, public and higher education, tribal and labor leaders and companies seeking skilled labor.

“It takes a village,” Stewart said in his address to the camera from Reno. “We believe this is great news.”

In addition to Nevada, grant funding for workforce development programs went to states including Alaska, New Mexico, California, Washington, Florida, Texas, Iowa and Alabama.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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