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News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Provides Additional Flexibility for Dislocated Worker Grants, Allowing Awardees to Use Funds for Contact Tracing

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) funding made available to states and territories to employ workers temporarily to respond to the coronavirus public health emergency can be used for contact tracing. Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting patients and warning contacts of exposure to stop chains of transmission.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services declared the coronavirus a nationwide public health emergency on Jan. 31, 2020. The Trump administration also issued the coronavirus emergency declarations for states, outlying areas and Indian tribal governments on March 13, 2020. These federal declarations enable the Secretary of Labor to award Disaster Recovery DWGs to help address the workforce-related impacts of this public health emergency.

States and territories awarded DWGs may fund disaster-relief employment contact tracing activities related to the coronavirus if the purpose of the tracing is in response to and in order to mitigate the public health emergency. Because contact tracing is an allowable cost of Disaster DWG funds, the department encourages states to expend these funds on activities that involve identifying and notifying individuals who may have been exposed to the coronavirus to slow or stop the spread of the virus. If tracing is conducted thoroughly and properly, it can be an effective tool to quarantine and isolate potential cases of the virus and may contribute to its containment.

As of May 1, 2020, the department has awarded $161 million in coronavirus DWG funding to 31 states and territories. These DWGs are funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus. Within 60 days of disaster DWG awards, grantees must submit a full application including a budget, implementation plan, and other planning documents for the Department’s approval.

For more information on the department’s awards of the coronavirus DWG awards, please see:

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.

For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights

Employment and Training Administration
May 5, 2020
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Media Contact: Eric Holland
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