By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Adults who are unemployed or underemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic are now eligible for a grant to fund their education at one of the state’s community colleges or the University of Wyoming.
Gov. Mark Gordon announced Wednesday he will use $7.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to finance the “Adult Education Grant Program.”
The program will provide scholarships to Wyoming adults between the ages of 25 to 64 who are unemployed or underemployed due to the impacts of the coronavirus.
“During this crisis these grants will help impacted workers obtain new skills and advance their careers,” Gordon said in the release. “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,” Dr. Ben Moritz, Deputy Director of the Commission, said in the release. “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 distributed through an application process and officials said an opening date for accepting applications will be announced soon.
Gordon is continuing to work with the university and state community colleges to develop a program to provide assistance to all students with financial need that have been impacted by the virus.
The Adult Education Grant Program comes 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 million in federal relief funds 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 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 Wyoming Legislature passed new laws during a May special session guiding how that money can be spent. To date, Gordon has allocated approximately $710 million to address the impacts of the pandemic.