Largest program grants to date aim to solve affordable childcare and pandemic learning losses
- Grants target services for children and families dealing with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.
- Final awards will be up to $250,000 or $500,000, depending on the program.
- $1.5 million in total grants available.
- Webinar set for Friday, Jan. 27, at 10 a.m. Register at https://bit.ly/arpaeducation.
SCRANTON, PA. – The City of Scranton is opening grants for a total of $1.5 million to tackle the issues of affordable childcare, community literacy, and pandemic learning losses. Grants are available through the City’s $68.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
“COVID-19 set our kids back and we have to be more deliberate about how we help them make up lost ground. It’s incredibly important that we use this once-in-a-lifetime funding for the betterment of our city’s educational and childcare programs,” Mayor Paige G. Cognetti announced at the Lackawanna County Children’s Library, 520 Vine St., Scranton.
Through a spending plan approved by City Council in May 2022, the City allocated:
- a total of $500,000 in grants for affordable childcare programs to support new or expanded childcare services, increased access to childcare services, efforts to preserve existing childcare services, and the improvement or new construction of childcare and daycare facilities, all for the benefit of working families;
- a total of $250,000 for the development of educational programs focused on literacy and financial literacy; and
- a total of $750,000 to develop K-12 educational catchup and assistance programs including high-quality tutoring, differentiated instruction, new activities to meet students’ comprehensive needs, improved language access for parents and families, improving student engagement in distance education, and administering high-quality assessments to monitor academic progress.
Affordable Childcare grants are available up to the full allocation of $500,000, if necessary. Grants for literacy programs, financial literacy programs, and educational catchup and assistance programs are available up to $250,000.
A lack in affordable childcare can create an unnecessary barrier to employment opportunities for working families in the City. Solving the issue is one of the pillars outlined in Mayor Cognetti’s strategic economic development plan that was unveiled last summer.
In its April 2022 report, “COVID-19: The Impact on K-12 Learning and Post-Secondary Workforce Development,” The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development noted that “the impact of the pandemic on K-12 student learning was significant,” citing research from Curriculum Associates. On average, students were five months behind in math education and four months behind in reading.
The pandemic also caused a likely increase in the dropout rate of high school students and a decrease in the number of seniors pursuing postsecondary education. Further, parents have greater concern for their children’s mental, social, and emotional health because of pandemic-related stresses.
Grants will be awarded only to non-profit and for-profit organizations. Funding is not intended for other government entities.
The deadline to apply for Childcare and Educational Improvement grants is March 7, 2023. Applications will be accepted online through the City’s Neighborly page at https://bit.ly/nblyscranton. Groups can also register for a webinar on Friday, Jan. 27, at 10 a.m., at https://bit.ly/arpaeducation.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT (ARPA) OF 2021: ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus bill. The City of Scranton has been awarded $68.7 million in ARPA funds to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts. The mission of Scranton’s ARPA program is to give people access to resources, rebuild the infrastructure systems that impact their everyday lives, and foster equitable wealth generation that targets the needs of Scranton residents. More information about Scranton’s ARPA plan is online at scrantonpa.gov/arpa.
Last modified: August 2, 2023