Round 2

ARPA Workforce & Small Business 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, certain industries.

To help alleviate 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 (Treasury) and received $36.2 million 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, specifically focusing on mitigating the widening of equity gaps exacerbated by the pandemic.

On April 12, 2022, the City Council approved 15 grant agreements totaling $6,360,428 from round 1 and authorized staff to begin round 2 of the Workforce and Small Business Development Grant process. The City has allocated up to $3,639,572 for this round of applications.

The City received 23 grant applications for round 2, with 13 focused on workforce development and 10 aligned to small business development. The application requests totaled $11.8 million. On July 5, 2022, the City Council approved seven grant agreements totaling $3,583,063, leaving $56,509 unawarded. The unawarded funds are to be used as a contingency to resolve any situations in project continuity that may arise.

See further information on round 1.

Further Information on Round 2

Applications for round 2 closed at midnight on May 4, 2022. The City received 23 grant applications totaling approximately $11.8 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 nine applications were determined to be ineligible. Applications were determined to be ineligible for two reasons: (1) the application did not clearly demonstrate how the project met the second-round guidelines or (2) the application was incomplete.

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 14 eligible applications based on the criteria included in the grant application and in accordance with the scoring matrix. The committee next determined a cutoff point of 70 and 60 points for workforce development and small business development grants, respectively, for consideration for award after a return on investment evaluation was completed. Finally, the committee went through the applications and determined the eligible components and the appropriate level of funding.

Next, the applicants were notified if they were being recommended for funding or not. 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.

Finally, staff presented recommendations to the City Council on July 5, 2022. All seven subrecipient agreements were approved as recommended.

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