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Delaware commits $50 million of COVID relief funds to build its workforce

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Delaware Public Media
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The state is investing more American Rescue Plan Act money, this time in jobs training.

Gov. John Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long announced Tuesday the state will put $50 million of its COVID relief funds into workforce development. 

The money will fuel expansion of the Forward Delaware jobs training program for industries most affected by the pandemic and more work experience services for Delaware students.

Hall-Long says this investment will be felt in different areas.

"Part of that 50 million ($1.2 million) is going to go to retooling and retraining and the front line and our restaurants and hospitality," said Hall-Long. "I also look to Secretary Majeski who's sitting there behind her mask with DelDOT in the minority work that we have to do with women and minorities in construction."

Another $15.8 million will go toward a public-private expansion of Delaware’s Pathways program linking education and workforce development programs.

Pathways 2.0 will bring the program to Delaware middle schools, reaching more than 6,000 students in those grades. It will also expand its reach in high schools to 32,000 students.

$8.3 million in state funding is also headed to the Pathways expansion, targeting support for workforce development in health care, IT, finance, and engineering.

Delaware Labor Secretary Karryl Hubbard says this funding provides a big boost.

"With this additional funding, we can leverage lessons learned, target emergent training needs, and continue to reskill and upskill Delawareans to meet the needs of employers," said Hubbard. "We are very proud to continue this great work that began with Forward Delaware to help the state’s economy move forward."

Gov. Carney says these investments will help Delaware’s future. 

“We’re focused on investments that will build on the strengths of Delaware’s world-class workforce and support Delaware families and businesses who were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carney. “These workforce development programs will help Delawareans develop the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. And the expansion of our Pathways program will connect even more students with real-world work experience while they’re still in school."

The state also plans to expand employer driven apprenticeship programs allowing residents to earn and learn in high-growth, high-wage industries. 

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