Richland County courthouse

The Richland County Administration Building is located at 50 Park Ave. East in downtown Mansfield.

MANSFIELD -- Four local groups will receive $275,526 in additional workforce development funds, state grants approved Tuesday by Richland County commissioners.

Commissioners voted to accept the grants during a meeting with Teresa Alt, executive director of Richland County Youth and Family Council.

Alt said the grants, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Area 10, are:

-- $113,855 to the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, which will be used in its continued outreach to businesses to provide connections to the Richland County OhioMeansJobs Center for training and other support.

-- $70,643 to the North End Community Improvement Collaborative to work with minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses to connect them with the OhioMeansJobs Center and other government aid for training and support, as well as other grants and opportunities.

-- $65,528 to the Crawford Partnership to continue work with Crawford County businesses and direct them to resources at OhioMeansJobs Center in Crawford County.

-- $25,500 to Catholic Charities to recruit more businesses to participate in the the 3E project, which provides support to businesses and low-income workers to maintain their employing by bringing resources to them while working.

The funds will be used during the next 18 months, ending in June 2023.

Also on Thursday, in response to a question, commissioners said they had no plans for county workers to move to remote work as the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations during a surge fueled by the Omicron variant.

"I think with the revised CDC guidelines, we are not inclined to go to remote work at this time," Commissioner Tony Vero said. "Working remotely is an option if an individual needs to work from home."

In late December, the CDC said people who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for five days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.

Commissioner Darrell Banks said he couldn't say for certain how many county workers had missed days due to COVID, "but I am certain we have had our share of cases."

Commissioners also approved the annual contract with the City of Mansfield to pay for defense attorney fees for indigent residents. Vero said the State of Ohio is currently reimbursing counties at 100 percent for indigent defense work.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"