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Riverside County Supervisors approve $4 million for employment program

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved $4 million for a program that will assist unemployed adult residents with work training and mentoring. Riverside County’s Pathways to Employment program will provide participants with paid stipends and other supportive services to ensure success. The program will launch in September.

“We initially had public safety in mind for this program, including additional support for the Riverside County Fire Department’s reserve program,” said First District Supervisor Kevin Jeffries. “Then we were able to expand the program to several other areas including nonprofits and government agencies. The important thing is people will get valuable work experience that we hope will encourage new careers.”

Pathways to Employment will recruit 500 adults who have been impacted by COVID-19. Participants will receive a living wage stipend of $20 per hour, training and mentoring from nonprofit and government partners, and supportive services, including transportation, clothing, counseling, and technological assistance.

The program will be administered by the Community Action Partnership, a national network designated to battle poverty. The county’s Housing, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Solutions (HHPWS) director will oversee the program and work closely with the Community Action Partnership.

“Almost 15 percent of Riverside County’s workforce of more than 1 million remains unemployed and there are few options for returning to work soon,” said HHPWS Director Heidi Marshall. “Many residents are experiencing devasting financial losses as a result of furloughs and layoffs. Low-income residents and those with little to no financial cushion were heavily affected and forced to rely on social service providers for basic necessities, such as food and housing.”

The board of supervisors approved using CARES Act federal funding for the Pathways to Employment program. The CARES Act provided local governments critical funding as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on economies and employment.

For more information about the Pathways to Employment program, contact the HHPWS department at 951-955-1161.

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