Councilmembers voted unanimously near midnight at this week’s City Council meeting to give federal CARES funding to local job training agencies in light of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus on workers’ jobs in Oakland.
Oakland residents are dealing with a double-digit unemployment rate that is much higher than the national rate.
Councilmember Larry Reid made the motion at Tuesday’s meeting, seconded by City Council Pres. Rebecca Kaplan to provide $200,000 to support extended job services at the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC), which is the city’s one-stop career center operation and $100,000 to Lao Family Community Development.
According to the federal government, the CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries.
So far, the city administration has not provided information on how much money has been spent to date. Under federal guidelines, all the funds must be expended by Dec. 31, 2020.
“One of the big negative impacts of COVID is job loss, which is disproportionately impacting African Americans,” said Kaplan in an interview with the Oakland Post.
“Therefore, there is an urgent need for an increase in jobs programs and assistance for people facing these needs. This is why I worked for and passed direction to prioritize funding for vitally needed jobs programs in the use of available CARES Act funds in Oakland.”
Added Councilmember Loren Taylor, “We have a number of people who have been out of work or underemployed for a while, and in this crisis they have limited job prospects in the industries where they used to work. The city has to provide the services that will help them become productive for themselves and their families.”