WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) announced the award of a $356,909 Employment Recovery Dislocated Workforce Grant (DWG) to the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board (USWIB) through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The USWIB will use these federal funds to support self-employed and gig-economy workers whose employment has been interrupted due to the pandemic. Approximately 170 beneficiaries will receive financial support either for apprenticeship/skills-training to pursue a new line of work, or for entrepreneurial training to be prepared for any future economic emergency.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $345 million for DWGs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. This award is made under the fourth round of allocations, bringing the total awarded nationwide to $198,221,958. The Senators previously announced $1.6 million in statewide dislocated worker grants through an earlier round of this funding.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted too many livelihoods, especially affecting the industries on which the Eastern Shore’s economy relies,” said Senator Cardin. “This grant funding will give Marylanders options for their future during this particularly challenging time. I look forward to the good work of the USWIB.”
“The Eastern Shore’s economy has been hit hard by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of our workers are struggling to make ends meet. This funding will help self-employed and gig workers gain new skills and safely return to full employment. We will continue fighting for federal resources to support workers and small businesses on the Shore and across Maryland,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“The Dislocated Worker Grant will allow the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board to assist workers whose jobs were impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The Upper Shore economy is driven by the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors, all of which have been greatly impacted by COVID-19. This grant puts us in a position to respond to the emergency,” said George Weeks, President of the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board and Human Resources Manager, Maryland Plastics, Inc.
“The Dislocated Worker Grant gives the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board the resources to respond to the workers behind the unemployment numbers that we have seen,” said Daniel P. McDermott, Executive Director of the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board. “This grant will help us to serve the many Marylanders that have reached out to us because they need help to get back to work.”
The USWIB serves counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore including Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot Counties primarily through career and training services. The Board assists employers by offering in-demand training options designed to qualify individuals for careers in the region. More information may be found through its website here. The USWIB is part of the National American Job Center network, which is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Additional information about this system may be found here.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared COVID-19 a nationwide public health emergency on January 31, 2020. On March 26, Governor Hogan’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Maryland was approved through the support of the Maryland congressional delegation. This declaration was a necessary precursor to unlock federal DSGs and other forms of disaster assistance for the state.
Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.