Round 1

ARPA Workforce & Small Business / Entrepreneurial Development Grants

The COVID-19 public health emergency resulted in significant economic hardships for many Americans. While the pandemic has affected communities across the country, it has disproportionately impacted low-income and minority communities, as well as, specific industries. Examples of specific industries included, but were not limited to:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Other Service Industries
  • Entertainment and Leisure (includes food establishments)
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation and Logistics

To help address the impacts of the pandemic, the City of Wichita was awarded $72.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding in May 2021 from the U.S. Department of Treasury, of which $36.2 million was received in June 2021.

On December 14, 2021, the City Council allocated up to $10 million of the City's ARPA funds for (1) Workforce Development and/or (2) Small Business Development Grants to help alleviate the economic hardships caused by the pandemic, with preference given to projects focused on mitigating the widening of equity gaps exacerbated by the pandemic. The City invited non-profit and educational entities to apply with applications due on February 2, 2022. The City received 81 applications totaling $28.2 million. City Council approved 15 grant agreements totaling $6,360,428 on April 12, 2022. See further information on this page.

City Council authorized staff to initiate round 2 of the Workforce and Small Business Development Grant Process on April 12, 2022. See further information regarding round 2.

Applications for round 1 closed at noon on February 2, 2022. The City received 81 grant applications totaling approximately $28.2 million. The City Manager formed a grant review committee composed of staff from the City Manager's Office, Law Department, and Finance Department.

The applications were first screened to determine eligibility based on the approved program guidelines. A total of 52 applications were determined to be ineligible. Ineligibility criteria included the following:

  • Not meeting the requirement of being a non-profit organization, an educational entity, or a public/private partnership, which would include either a non-profit or educational entity
  • Not meeting the application and ARPA guidelines for eligible uses (i.e., sub-categories)
  • Not having been in operation for more than one year
  • Not meeting the application submission deadline

The committee assigned priorities to the following grant subcategories, and then assigned the appropriate category, if applicable, to each application.

Workforce Development

Aid in Reopening / Planned Expansions or UpgradesHigh
Provide Workforce Readiness to Unemployed WorkersHigh
Accelerate the Rehiring Process and Reduce UnemploymentHigh
Premium Pay for Essential WorkersLow

Small Business Development

Assist with New Business Startups Derailed by PandemicHigh
Continue Expansion Plans Derailed by PandemicHigh
Hire Back to Pre-pandemic Staffing LevelsHigh
Retain Existing Staff which otherwise Might be Laid OffMedium
Premium Pay for Essential WorkersLow
Mitigate Financial Hardships (Revenue Decline / Closures)Low

Applications were also reviewed for risk factors. Avoiding risk for the City was a significant consideration since based on federal guidelines the City could be required to return any allocated funds if deficiencies were later found with its subrecipients. Applicants that did not have prior grant experience and/or did not have an audit or review of their organizational financial statements were considered higher risk.

The committee then scored the 29 eligible applications based on the criteria included in the grant application and in accordance with the scoring matrix. Once the applications were scored, the committee reviewed the applications further and determined its funding recommendations. The committee recommended funding for the 15 applications below at the stated amounts.

Next, the applicants that were recommended for award were notified of staff recommendations in late March 2022 and the remaining applicants were notified in early April 2022. For the recommended applications, a TrueView vetting was performed on each organization based on the information the applicant provided. Staff drafted grant award agreements for each organization, which included specific performance measures developed for each project based on the grant application and the proposed use of ARPA funds.

Staff also utilized a local accounting and auditing firm's compliance services to review the application process, the committee's evaluation and scoring methodology, the proposed uses of funds, and the grant award agreement.

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