Gordon taps CARES to fund higher education for un(der)employed adults

JACKSON, Wyo. — Adults who are unemployed or underemployed due to COVID-19 are now eligible for a grant to pay for education at one of the state’s community colleges or the University of Wyoming. The funding source was identified by Governor Mark Gordon provided to the new program.

Gordon allocated $7.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the Adult Education Grant Program, which will provide scholarships to Wyoming adults between the ages of 25 and 64 who are unemployed or underemployed due to the impacts of COVID-19.

“During this crisis these grants will help impacted workers obtain new skills and advance their careers,” Gordon said. “They will also help Wyoming progress towards its goal of building a highly trained, well-equipped workforce.”

“The Wyoming Community College Commission strongly supports the Governor’s announcement of the Adult Education Grant Program,” said Dr. Ben Moritz, deputy director of the commission. “Working adults are facing both economic and pandemic-related challenges and need training and education to obtain the skills employers are looking for. This grant program opens up these training opportunities to working adults who need it.”

The funds will be administered through an application process, with an opening date expected to be announced very soon. The Governor continues to work with the University and community colleges to develop a program to provide assistance to all students with financial need that have been impacted by COVID-19.

It follows on the heels of the recent allocation of $26.5 million to help aid UW with its safe reopening plan and $32.5 million for community colleges for their plans. The Governor has also allocated nearly $51.5 Governor  in CARES Act funding to support the operations of K-12 schools around the state. Those funds will support the reopening of schools and include $42.5 million for technology to support distance learning, $7.3 million for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and $1.7 million to bolster food security programs.

These distributions are just a portion of the $1.25 billion Congress allocated Wyoming through the CARES Act. The State Legislature passed new laws during a May special session guiding how that money can be spent. To date, Governor Gordon has allocated approximately $710 million of those funds to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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