The Iredell County Board of Commissioners reviewed several funding requests for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds during their winter retreat on Friday.

So far, Iredell County has received $17,656,842 in ARPA funds, which are provided by the federal government to recover losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A second installment this spring will boost the total to $35,313,684.

Various funding requests have been submitted to the board, but commissioners are waiting to make a final decision on most of the proposals until they learn more about recently announced state grant programs.

However, commissioners did unanimously approve a request to spend $8 million on a VIPER (Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders) communication system, which will result in first responders and the county’s emergency communications center working on one communication system.

The VIPER system will benefit all public safety agencies responding to routine emergency calls and large-scale disasters. This will enable fire, rescue, and law enforcement agencies to better serve residents.

Iredell Ready

During the second day of the board retreat, Iredell County Economic Development Corporation CEO and President Jenn Bosser talked with commissioners about the Iredell Ready initiative.

According to Bosser, the Iredell Alliance is preparing to launch Iredell Ready, a workforce initiative that will identify, align and enhance strategic priorities across the workforce development pipeline from early-childhood education to retirement.

The goal, she explained, is to promote lifelong learning opportunities and assist all citizens in obtaining gainful employment within Iredell County.

Springer Studios will help with implementation and marketing. The first year of the initiative will focus on building a sustainable organization structure and the second and third years will focus on implementation and program design.

Commissioners approved Bosser’s funding match request of $125,000 per year for three years to provide support for administrative, marketing, communications and program implementation.

She said other funds to support Iredell Ready will be secured through the three school systems and other partnerships.

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