Funding For “Back To Work” Program Supports Rehiring, Retention
PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced an additional $5 million to help Arizona small businesses recover from the economic consequences of the pandemic and extreme weather conditions.
Governor Ducey launched the Back to Work Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program in August and has invested a total of $10 million in the program to support small, locally-owned businesses. Recipients of the first round of funding have been identified and distribution of funds has begun. Today’s additional funding from the Governor will fulfill outstanding requests from applicants.
“Small businesses are the backbone of Arizona’s economy, and we’re dedicated to helping them fully recover,” said Governor Ducey. “I’m optimistic today’s additional investment will help small businesses around the state bounce back from the countless challenges of this past year and build for the future. I thank the small business community for their resilience and their continued efforts to help Arizona emerge out of the pandemic stronger than ever.”
This year, wildfires, storms and flooding impacted small businesses’ operations and employment opportunities. The Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program is designed to assist small, locally owned or operated businesses hire and retain employees and continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic and extreme weather conditions, like wildfires and flooding.
The Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a recipient of the first round of funding. The Center works with clients to help them achieve independence and develop the skills needed to go to work, go to school and actively participate in society.
“Our team is thrilled to receive funding that will help us continue to support and empower Arizonans experiencing vision loss,” said Steve Tepper, executive director of the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and member of the Governor’s Council on Blindness and Visual Impairment. “Visually impaired individuals and their loved ones deserve to have access to effective resources and programs — and our incredible staff makes sure they get the help they need. My thanks goes to Governor Ducey for supporting the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and our efforts to help those with vision loss achieve their full potential.”
The program will fund up to $10,000 in expenditures for employee hiring/signing bonuses, relocation bonuses for employees that are moving to take an open position, and employee retention bonuses.
An Arizona business must meet certain eligibility requirements to receive funding. A business must be: owned and operated in the state of Arizona; incorporated before January 1, 2020; rent or lease a physical location in Arizona; and have between five and 25 total employees that work at the physical location. Eligible businesses in areas impacted by wildfires or floods may have up to 50 employees.
The Small Business Rehiring and Retention Program is a component of Governor Ducey’s “Arizona Back to Work” plan, which supports Arizonans getting back to work and filling the thousands of jobs available across the state.
On July 16 and August 24 Governor Ducey issued Declarations of Emergency in response to flooding in Coconino County. On August 16, the Governor issued a Declaration of Emergency in response to flash flooding in Gila Bend. These actions made up to $200,000 available for response and recovery efforts.
In May, Governor Ducey announced the “Arizona Back To Work” program to support Arizonans getting back to work and filling jobs available across the state. The plan offered a $2,000 Back To Work bonus for eligible workers.
On July 14, Governor Ducey announced $101.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding to launch the Visit Arizona Initiative, a program designed to increase visitation and tourism spending in Arizona, bolster job creation and accelerate economic recovery.
In September, Arizona State Parks and Trails released a report showing how the State Parks system contributes to Arizona’s booming economy, including supporting an estimated 4,200 jobs and contributing $272 million to Arizona’s economy.
In September, Governor Ducey highlighted Arizona’s economic momentum and workforce development during a National Governors Association Workforce Symposium discussion.
By September of this year, Arizona had recovered over 100 percent of private sector jobs lost during the pandemic, representing one of the fastest jobs recoveries in the nation.
On October 1, legislation allowing bars, restaurants and liquor stores to sell mixed cocktails to-go went into effect. This law follows an Executive Order issued by Governor Ducey in March 2020 which temporarily allowed certain businesses to sell to-go cocktails during the pandemic.
On October 5, Governor Ducey announced 43 businesses and organizations across the state will receive a total of more than $9.4 million in Visit Arizona Initiative Partnership grant funding, which supports the relaunch or expansion of a wide variety of festivals, arts and culture, and community events statewide.