Gov. Gianforte Seeks Public Comment on Use of ARPA Economic and Workforce Funds
HELENA, MT (STL.News) Governor Greg Gianforte announced the Economic Transformation and Stabilization and Workforce Development Advisory Commission seeks public comment on how to best use about $130 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds which the commission oversees.
“We’re focused on making long-term investments that will help create sustainable, good-paying jobs and bring greater opportunities to Montanans,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Hearing directly from Montanans yields the best results for our communities, so I encourage folks to have their voices heard to help guide the commission’s decisions.”
The Economic Transformation and Stabilization and Workforce Development Advisory Commission is focused on developing programs across four main areas: affordable housing, workforce development, value-added agricultural infrastructure, and business innovation.
At yesterday’s commission meeting, members received an update from the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) on the state’s return-to-work bonus program. The department reported they have received 3,600 applications for return-to-work bonuses.
“Some 3,600 Montanans have applied for return-to-work bonuses and already we’re seeing increased participation in our labor force,” DLI Commissioner Esau said. “Yesterday’s commission meeting builds on the progress already made in utilizing federal ARPA dollars to get more Montanans back to work and build the foundation of a prosperous Montana economy for decades to come.”
The commission also received a status report from the Department of Commerce on the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance program. To date, the state has assisted over 2,000 Montana households struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic and has distributed over $11 million to renters and landlords. Financial assistance is still available and eligible individuals can apply online at housing.mt.gov.