Helpful COVID-19 Information/Links
Coronavirus Resource Guide for Communities and Businesses:
Message from the Director of Workforce Services, Dennis Williamson:
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has evolved into a nationally declared emergency. In response to this pandemic, the Western Arkansas Planning & Development District is receiving information on resources that are being made available through state and federal agencies. This information is designed to help our communities, medical facilities and/or businesses respond to the challenges of COVID-19.
Please utilize the information below as a tool and guide and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
New Arkansas Ready For Business website has launched!
New resource for Arkansas Unemployment Insurance Benefits questions
New site and information on the Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Program
- Small Business Administration
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Centers for Disease Control
- OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)
- Internal Revenue Service
- Governor’s Quick Action Loan Program
- Community Development Block Grant
- State Chamber of Commerce
- Arkansas Department of Health
- Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program
- Division of Workforce Services / Unemployment Insurance
- Resources for Businesses (Federal & State)
- Resources for Employees (including Unemployment Insurance)
- Updates from the Governor’s Office
Information will continue to be updated for both CDBG funds and ED funds. The plan right now is to fund grants to non-entitlement local government with which to provide economic development loans to industry, much like the regular ED program, and also fund some public assistance through General Assistance (probably like a Round 2 of General Assistance), primarily to health units, clinic, hospitals and homeless shelters, for medical and health response.
This is all currently still in the development phase. The website will continue to be updated as information and guidance becomes available.
The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, declared a nationwide public health emergency as a result of confirmed cases of the coronavirus. This federal declaration enables the Secretary of Labor to award Disaster Recovery DWGs to help address the workforce-related impacts of this public health emergency (WIOA Act Section 170(a)(1)(B)).
Below are several questions and answers that I hope will help you in your planning to address this public health emergency.
1.) For coronavirus, what types of disaster-relief employment are allowable?
2.) Which entities are eligible to apply for a Disaster Recovery DWG under HHS Secretary Azar’s public health emergency declaration for coronavirus?
3.) What activities must states carry out with Disaster Recovery DWGs under the coronavirus public health emergency declaration?
4.) Who can be served by Disaster Recovery DWGs under the coronavirus public health emergency declaration?
5.) In addition to Disaster Recovery DWGs, can states apply for Employment Recovery DWGs in response to layoffs caused by cancellations or shutdowns caused by coronavirus?
If you have questions related to the DWG program in response to the coronavirus public health emergency declaration, please contact WAPDD’s Workforce Development department. Counties and cities who are interested must prepare a detailed budget and project description.
Layoff Aversion Strategies – ADWS Rapid Response Funding
Some examples of layoff aversion projects that use creative strategies to address COVID-19-related effects* on businesses and workers include, but are not limited to:
- A call center environment needs to have their employees work from home/remotely in order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Layoff aversion funding could be used to purchase remote access equipment that the employee would need to use from home to support their work.
- A business whose employees use specific software or computer applications asks their employees work from home/remotely in order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Layoff aversion funding could be used to purchase the software/programs that the employee would need to use from home to support their work.
- In order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19, a company that usually runs two shifts of workers adds a third shift, so that fewer employees are on onsite at any given time. Layoff aversion funding could be used to offset related costs to the employer or workers.
- A small business needs their employees to be at work, on site, but cannot afford frequent deep cleaning to help prevent potential exposure to COVID-19. Layoff aversion funds could be used to pay for a cleaning/sanitization service.
If you have questions related to Layoff Aversion Strategies in response to the coronavirus public health emergency declaration, please contact WAPDD’s Workforce Development department. Businesses/employers who are interested must prepare a detailed budget and project description.
The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program provides an alternative for employers faced with a reduction in their work force. It allows an employer to divide available work or hours of work among a specific group(s) of employees in lieu of a layoff, and it allows the employees to receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours.
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is a university-based economic development program that assists entrepreneurs, both new and seasoned, with every aspect of business creation, management, and operation.
ASBTDC works with all types of for-profit businesses, from home-based to high-tech. You can receive one-to-one confidential consulting and cutting-edge market research at no charge or expand your expertise by participating in our affordable training.
As the state’s premier business assistance provider, the ASBTDC is dedicated to helping small businesses achieve success and to promoting economic development throughout the state.
Unique among Arkansas economic development organizations, ASBTDC serves businesses from any county in Arkansas, in any industry sector, at any stage of business development.