In November, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that ACL would receive $150 million to expand the public health workforce within underserved communities including the aging and disability networks.

Funding will be awarded to 11 grantee networks, including Centers for Independent Living – $38.3M* and Independent Living Designated State Entities – $4.5M*. CILs (direct grantees through the Rehabilitation Act in Title VII Part C) will receive funds directly, if they submit a letter of assurance by February 25. DSEs are also direct grantees who must submit such a letter. Requirements are detailed in these notices in the Federal Register: Centers for Independent Living, and Independent Living Designated State Entities (IL DSE). As is explained in the Federal Register notice, we are encouraging IL DSEs to distribute the funding through sub-grants, including to State Independent Living Councils or organizations that receive funding through Part B of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, or to Part B centers. To assist their networks with implementing this new program, ACL has published a series of Frequently Asked Questions on their COVID-19 website.  Drop down the menu under “New, Public Health Workforce Grants”.

Funding is targeted to be distributed by March, 2022. Funds must be expended by September 30, 2024. Funding may be used to cover wages and benefits for public health professionals (directly or through contract) responding to COVID-19 and perform public health tasks, as well as the costs of associated equipment, training and supplies for these professionals and indirect costs. These funds are specific to expanding the Public Health Workforce, so cannot be used to pay funds for other, already existing positions unless the position is expanded in hours. Reporting at the end of the grant will be related to FTEs developed. Professional categories covered, which represent a wide range of jobs, functions, and responsibilities found through the aging and disability networks, include:

  • Community health worker
  • Program manager
  • Public health nurse
  • Communication and policy experts
  • Case investigator
  • Contact tracer
  • Social support specialist
  • Disease intervention specialist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Laboratory personnel
  • Informaticians
  • Other positions required to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19

For CILs, Letters of Assurance should be submitted electronically via email to PHWF@acl.hhs.gov. Content is listed in the Federal Register and includes:

1. Assurance that the award recipient is an entity designated as a Part C funded CIL under the Rehab Act.

2. Assurance that funds will be spent in ways consistent with the purpose of the funding to support the cost of wages and benefits for public health professionals directly, or through contracts. Examples are listed above.

3. Assurance to provide semi-annual federal financial reports and annual program reports that include the number and type of full-time equivalents hired, and activities performed to advance public health.

In the case of the grants to DSEs, award recipients are encouraged to make sub-awards to Part B funded CILs, Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and/or Part C funded CILs that receive Part B funding. Sub-awards may be allocated through an even distribution or based on information in the state plan for independent living, or other distribution based on need as determined by the chairperson of the SILC and the directors of the CILs in the State for the purposes of this funding. The letter of assurance must addresses this and other areas as noted here:

1. Assurance that the award recipient is the DSE for Part B Independent Living Services.

2. Assurance that funds will be spent in ways consistent with the purpose of the funding to support the cost of wages and benefits for public health professionals, directly or through contract, listed above;

3. Plan for the distribution of funds within the state Part B funded independent living services program. Award recipients are encouraged to make sub-awards to Part B funded CILs, Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), and/or Part C funded CILs that receive Part B funding. Sub-awards may be allocated through an even distribution or based on information in the state plan for independent living, or other distribution based on need as determined by the chairperson of the SILC and the directors of the CILs in the State for the purposes of this funding.

4. Assurance to provide semi-annual federal financial reports and annual program reports that include the number and type of full-time equivalents hired, and activities performed to advance public health.

*approximate – rounded to the nearest thousand and will be adjusted based on actual number of applicants.

Have you submitted your letter of assurance for the Public Health Workforce funding? Due February 25 (updated)!

2 thoughts on “Have you submitted your letter of assurance for the Public Health Workforce funding? Due February 25 (updated)!

  • March 29, 2022 at 5:13 am
    Permalink

    Paula,
    What are the other grantee networks eligible for these funds aside from the CILs and the DSEs? Is there a master list by state indicating those receiving the PHW and other ARP funding citing contact person.

    Is there any documentation as to what projects/subcontracts are being planned by the DSE? Our DSE has indicated that the SILC will determine how the PHW funds they are receiving. I’m seeking other creative program ideas. The DSE will execute the contracts on the SILC’s behalf.

    Reply

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