Blog | 09.20.2022

How State & Local Governments are using Federal Funding to Support Hybrid Work

Latest Funding Available for School Technology Upgrades & Safety Measures

It’s been two years since many public sector agencies shifted employees to remote work and their greatest workforce challenges (and opportunities) are just beginning.  

As of late, technology solutions are taking center stage in the debate around school safety. As educators and students return to the classroom, school districts are faced with deficient infrastructure as legislators push for increased funding and new measures to strengthen school security.

In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker is demanding $40 million in new funding. In Texas, Senator Ted Cruz is requesting $15 billion to enhance safety in schools. Meanwhile, legislation like Kari’s Law, RAY BAUM’s Act and Alyssa’s Law are being rapidly adopted – creating compliance needs for school districts across the country. 

Shifting Back to the Office for SLED Employees

State and local agencies now face the difficult decision of where and how government employees will work going forward.  With federal funding available including the Coronavirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), CARES and the distribution of a second round of additional federal funding rolled out this summer – this represents a big opportunity for leadership to transform their workers experiences while also delivering new and innovative technologies.

Nearly $745 billion in state and local aid has been accounted for under many diverse categories. State governments will receive $195.3 billion of the state portion of the recovery funds over two disbursement periods. Recipients must allocate the funds by Dec. 31, 2024, and spend them by Dec. 31, 2026.

“Millions in Stimulus Aid, and Clashing Over How to Spend It” March 2022, New York Times

ARPA 2021 – Round One Funding

If you just start with the $1 trillion Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) and the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), there are enormous possibilities for investment in mission-critical IT infrastructure, communications, and cybersecurity for government and education sectors. Round two ARPA funding has been trickling in this summer.

For example: 

  1. The IIJA calls for $1 billion in grants to improve state and local government cybersecurity, plus another $250 million to fund the Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program. 
  1. ARPA includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments, and the potential for billions of dollars in grants for public sector and educational institutions for initiatives such as empowering work-from capabilities; modernizing remote call centers and emergency services; strengthening cloud and communications infrastructure; and investing in K-12 classroom technologies.

ARPA 2022 – Round Two Funding

Applying for and getting approval for funding for the 2nd allocation takes skill, knowledge, and a clearly articulated plan. For example, to receive federal IIJA funds applicants must describe how they will handle a list of comprehensive cybersecurity measures, including using cybersecurity frameworks such as NIST and implementing continuous processes for vulnerability assessments and threat mitigation practices. Similarly, ARPA has a stringent list of eligible projects, requirements, and processes to receive approvals and manage each project throughout its entire lifecycles.

The Benefits of Working With NWN Carousel

NWN Carousel’s public sector team has 30 years of experience navigating technology and funding opportunities for our State, Local Government, and Education customers. While the pandemic has been a huge challenge for organizations in the SLED market, the next phase of pandemic relief could turn out to be an opportunity to use federal dollars to achieve critical business objectives.

“One of the great things about NWN Carousel is it’s really a partnership. We think about how can we really make those small impact changes every day? The technology is actually seamless and you don’t see it. When we call on NWN Carousel it’s an extension of our team. I think that’s critical to our success.”

Nicole Raimundo, CIO, Town of Cary

Technology and Support Services for the Public Sector include:

  • Migrating technologies to the cloud
  • Empowering hybrid work with Unified Communications 
  • Accelerating delivery of virtual services to students and constituents
  • Upgrading cybersecurity
  • Modernizing contact centers for at-home & in-office agents
  • Enriching emergency services
  • Improving health-related services & school safety measures

Navigating the complexity of choosing the right eligible projects, applying for grants, leveraging the best technology, and deploying the technology solution can be overwhelming for many SLED organizations—particularly at a time when IT budgets are under pressure and IT personnel shortages are commonplace. In choosing suppliers, municipalities and school systems must also consider vendors that are on lists of approved government contractors.

Working with a Cloud Communications Service Provider (CCSP) can ease some of the burden on SLED IT organizations. As a CCSP, we can provide insight into the types of projects that are eligible for funding and can also deliver technology solutions to meet the objectives of each initiative. NWN Carousel offers an integrated suite of solutions, services and capabilities that clearly differentiates it from its competitors.

NWN Carousel offers services to help SLED organizations apply for funding, including grant writing and adoption and lifecycle services. NWN Carousel is an approved provider for SLED organizations throughout the country in cloud communications, cybersecurity, and other services essential to supporting remote work and other initiatives. 

We offer the most comprehensive and innovative integrated cloud communications and collaboration portfolio in the industry, including Device-as-a-Service (DaaS), Unified Communications, Contact Center, Security, Visual Collaboration & Workspace (VCW), and Advanced Technology Solutions for connectivity and networking. The services are unified and supported by an industry-leading Experience Management Platform (EMP) that delivers a unified view of your environment—from core to cloud. 

ARPA eBook – Decoding ARPA’s Technology Modernization Opportunities

The time to act is now! For more information on how to maximize federal dollars to support key IT initiatives—including hybrid work—and more recently school safety, download the eBook.