A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Federally Funded Programs Boost Local Community Projects Nationwide

Authored by Mary Scott Nabers

I want to bring to your attention a sector of a federally funded program that I believe is not receiving adequate attention. The program facilitates local projects that public officials wish to launch. The Treasury Department administers the Facilities Grant Program, which is awarding grant funding to support the expansion of broadband accessibility in public centers. Four of the following upcoming projects will be financed by the Multi-Purpose Community Facilities program, and two other upcoming projects are noteworthy as they represent another way to serve the same purpose.

Arizona State University (ASU) will oversee the construction of the McCain Library, which is adjacent to the university’s Tempe campus. The library, named for the late Sen. John McCain, will occupy approximately 83,000 square feet and include space for community functions, educational activities and health monitoring programs. The library will be designed to accommodate equipment for telemedicine, health screenings, monitoring, job fairs, employment training programs and skills development training classes.

The library project will have presidential funding support and $83 million from the U.S. Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund. The facility will be located on the 22.5-acre McCain Campus near Papago Park in Phoenix, just north of Tempe Town Lake. Officials estimate 50,000 people annually will benefit from the library’s services. There is no timeline for a construction launch, but design work is underway. Central Wyoming College has announced plans to construct a permanent campus in Jackson, Wyoming, at a cost of $20 million. A funding award of $12.4 million from the U.S. Treasury's Capital Projects Fund will be consolidated with other state appropriations and federal funding to cover the cumulative costs.

The Jackson campus will house healthcare, hospitality and English as a Second Language programs. As a designated multi-purpose community facility, it will provide programming and services to support the Jackson community and provide public access to computer labs and career workshops. The design work is finished, and development plans will be available for approval by March 2024. Construction work will begin in late 2024. The City of New Haven, Connecticut, will deliver a new home to its Adult and Continuing Education Center by renovating a state-owned social-service building on Bassett Street. This project will be supported by a $20 million Multi-Purpose Facilities grant, focusing on expanding community access to high-speed internet. The city’s Adult and Continuing Education Center provides educational services to city residents. Programs include academic, health monitoring, workforce training and career counseling. The expanded space will allow the program to meet the growing demand of interested parties. Solicitation documents are expected in late 2024 or early 2025.

A U.S. Treasury grant of $22.5 million will support an expansion of the Whitman-Walker Health facility. This effort marks a significant development in healthcare and community services. It is expected to create two state-of-the-art multi-purpose community centers designed to serve the broader community's needs. The project will deliver planned spaces for integrated care, telehealth screenings and monitoring services. The center will provide space for job fairs, employment training programs, skills development, and education. It will also offer public access to computer terminals and high-speed wireless broadband internet for digital inclusion and connectivity.

The expansion will also allow for an anticipated growth in patient intake to the existing patient base. This project is part of a broader federal initiative to address infrastructure, education and healthcare needs while bridging the digital divide. As the project unfolds, it promises to enhance the quality of life for residents and create a ripple effect for additional opportunities. Currently in the planning phase, the project will launch over the next year.

The Sacramento City Council has approved conditional use permits, site plans and funding for a $16 million project to construct a community services and vocational-skills training center. The La Familia Opportunity Center will be built in two phases. Phase 1 will deliver a training center containing computer labs and amenities required for training. Phase 2 will provide a two-story building that connects to the training center. When completed, the opportunity center will provide various services, including access to healthcare and career training, especially for green jobs. Other spaces will be offered for parenting workshops, mental health services and support for youth and older people. The center will also prepare food for meal service activities. The facility will be built across the street from the nonprofit’s Neighborhood Center.

City officials in Hartford, Connecticut, will invest $17.5 million into a construction project to deliver a state-of-the-art Barbour Branch library system. The new library is needed to provide for demand related to technology training and other programming. The new 15,000-square-foot library will include a computer area, a technology laboratory and an area for programming the NextGen Adult Learning Center, offering skill-based training and career-development classes from community partners. The facility will also house a large community room and a dedicated food pantry. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Spring 2024.

Many cities and counties require these kind of facilities. With new funding, demand for private contractors and equipment will inevitably rise.



Mary Scott Nabers is CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.(www.spartnerships.com) and the author of Inside the Infrastructure Revolution – A Roadmap for Rebuilding America.