The Harris County Commissioners Court authorized The CARES Act Committee to establish child care assistance and workforce development programs at an expenditure of $7.3 million during the Sept. 29 meeting.

According to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the approved $4.7 million for the Childcare Assistance Program will help fund support services such as after-school programs, distance learning and child care for essential workers. Another $2.6 million will be used to help Harris County residents with training, job search and work-readiness support, Hidalgo said.

"The economy's taken a hit," Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said. "We've got to get people ready to make a transition into careers they previously did not have and to ensure that we're doing our best to identify opportunities for folks to have careers that wouldn't be as vulnerable as the service sector has been to this pandemic. Precinct 2 has among the lowest median income of all of Harris County. And so I'm not just simply looking to try to help people get a job; I'm trying to make sure that we're being thoughtful about how we create a career path that may start at a particular point but not end there. It's not just about making sure someone gets a paycheck; it's about giving them an opportunity to have a meaningful life."

Details about how Harris County residents can access the benefits available through each of the pilot programs are forthcoming.