Arkansas will get more than $4.5 million in federal pandemic relief funds to help identify and address barriers workers face in accessing state unemployment insurance benefits, the U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday.
Arkansas is getting the biggest share of $9.5 million in equity grants going to three states — $4,562,000. Louisiana will get $2,661,616 and Vermont $2,283,000. The amounts were requested by the states.
The grants are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration. The money will allow states to implement projects that seek to remove barriers related to race, age, ethnicity, language proficiency, disability status, geographic location or other systemic issues that make it difficult for people to access unemployment insurance benefits, the Labor Department said in a press release.
The funds will enable states to expand outreach, promote awareness, improve technology, provide translation services, reallocate staffing and address disadvantaged communities’ other needs, the department said.
The awards are the latest equity grants issued after the department’s August 2021 announcement of up to $260 million in available grants for states to promote equitable access to unemployment insurance benefits. To date, the department has announced awards of more than $216.2 million in funds to 44 states and the District of Columbia.
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