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'Layoff Aversion Grants' Could Keep Some Employees Working


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the economy, as the country—and the state—respond to a significant spike in unemployment.

State officials announced Friday they were dedicating $300,000 to layoff aversion grants, which are meant to help businesses keep employees working. Grant applications exceeded the funding limit within hours.

That could include purchasing laptops or software to facilitate working from home. It could also mean supplies for deep cleaning a restaurant or other business.

"We're wanting people to be creative," said Robin Cooley with the Department of Workforce Services. "Be creative about the ways that you can keep employees employed or bring them back into the business."

The funding is capped at $5,000 per business, and Cooley said most applicants asked for the full amount. More than 60 applications came in from various sectors, including from hospitality, financial and health care businesses.

"There were also construction businesses that applied for the funding as well, but I would say the majority of the applicants were small businesses in Wyoming," Cooley said.

Grant funding comes from federal funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Cooley said her department is looking to support another round of grants with funding from other sources.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Jeff Victor, at jvictor@uwyo.edu.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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