Gov. Walz announces allocation of $103 million of federal money

(ABC 6 News) -Governor Tim Walz announced an allocation of $106 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds, which includes funding to support Minnesota students, drive workforce development, and provide shelter to the most vulnerable Minnesotans before winter.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivers direct relief to Americans by providing resources to beat this pandemic and build a stronger economy for generations to come. That’s exactly what we’re prioritizing here in Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “With this funding, we are helping students recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, driving workforce development in critical, good-paying fields, and providing safe shelter to the Minnesotans who need it most before our harsh winter months.”

“The COVID-19 virus continues to impact Minnesotans in every corner of the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “I am grateful for the federal American Rescue Plan, as Minnesotans need support following one of the most challenging periods in our history. We will continue to prioritize students, families, and Minnesotans experiencing homelessness as we work to recover and rebuild together.”

Highlights of the Governor’s $106 million allocation include $29 million to support students across the state, $35 million to increase the number of workers for critical industries, and $10 million to help homeless shelters respond to COVID-19 outbreaks and keep the most vulnerable Minnesotans safe.

Supporting Students

$29 million of the Governor’s allocation will provide a one-time investment to ensure that enrollment loss in Minnesota’s schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic does not negatively impact students. The per-pupil nature of the education funding formula means that—without additional support—last year’s drop in student enrollment would impact the amount of funding schools receive to operate their schools and support student learning. On average, one student in Minnesota public schools generates roughly $10,286 in general education revenue.

Driving Workforce Development

The Governor’s allocation of American Rescue Plan funds will boost Minnesota’s economy by increasing the number of qualified workers for high-need career areas, like health care, business, education, and industry and technology. The $35 million investment will provide tuition-free paths for students at a Tribal College or public institutions earning a credential or degree for jobs such as nursing, accounting, teaching, engineering, and firefighting. Eligibility for Minnesota Future Together Grants will be determined based on a student’s financial aid profile, and will be awarded starting in spring 2022. For more information, visit the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Sheltering the Most Vulnerable Before Winter

$10 million in American Rescue Plan funds will be managed through an interagency, interdisciplinary state homeless shelter emergency response team focused on helping shelters prepare and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly as the Delta variant increases case counts across the state. The funds will cover staffing and hazard pay to keep shelters operating with the needed personnel, room leasing costs to establish shelter capacity to deconcentrate shelters or create protective or isolation options for people experiencing homelessness, and other costs for supplies needed to sustain congregate shelter operations, including air filtration, personal protective equipment, or food for those residing in isolation space.

In total, President Biden’s plan provides $8.5 billion to Minnesota to support COVID-19 recovery efforts. This includes $2.132 billion to local governments, $2.833 billion to the state government, and $3.505 billion for existing federally-funded programs to help Minnesotans who were impacted the most during the pandemic. State leaders agreed to divide the state’s $2.833 billion into three categories: immediate COVID-19 response ($500 million, which includes Governor Walz’s allocation of $106 million announced today), long-term pandemic recovery ($1.150 billion, to be allocated during the 2022 state legislative session), and state revenue replacement ($1.183 billion).

Additional allocations of the $500 million reserved for immediate COVID-19 response will be announced in the coming months, as the state continues to navigate the challenges brought by the COVID-19 virus.

More information on the state’s recovery funds can be found here.