A new initiative by Wichita State’s Public Policy Management Center and Sedgwick County is helping connect community members to resources that could help with economic recovery efforts from COVID-19.
Recovery Connect focuses on helping people, small businesses and non-profits find existing resources in the community. Groups can submit resources available to the community at the website.
Individuals, small businesses, and non-profits can connect with a Recovery Connect Specialist on the phone (316--978-6737) or in-person to talk through their specific needs and receive referrals to programs or resource partners.
This can include one-on-one advising for individuals regarding available training and educational services. The program offers case management for small businesses or non-profits looking for assistance, grant-writing classes, or open “ask an expert” labs for feedback on a current proposal or idea.
“Our website serves as a hub,” said Dulcinea Rakestraw, program manager for Recovery Connect. “We can be that hub in order to take away some of that overwhelming feeling of ‘Where do I start to look for resources.’”
Workforce development is one of the top priorities of the group — which includes partnerships with WSU Tech, Kansas Nonprofit Chamber, Empower and CML Collective.
“A big piece is to move forward the workforce,” Rakestraw said. “We can help (people) identify programming that can help with training or re-training. As individuals and job training needs have shifted, we can people help find what’s available.”
The program, in its fourth month of operation, is available to Sedgwick County residents. It works with individuals, small businesses and non-profits with an emphasis on underserved populations. The program is funded wholly or in part through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to Sedgwick County from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
“Through various community surveys and focus groups that the county held in 2021, it was brought to our attention that a community navigator program was needed,” said Aneesa Redd, grant analyst for the Sedgwick County Division of Finance. “Our goal is to help provide resources to individuals and businesses.”
Help for individuals may range from health care and vaccinations to housing.
“We’ve seen that they need help getting resources for mortgage, rent assistance and child care was a big one,” Redd said.
Recovery Connect aims to connect businesses with programs that help them rebound from losses during the pandemic and remain open. Case managers are available to work with small businesses on planning and applying for government funding opportunities. One of Recovery Connect’s partners is ShockStarter Marketing/Communications Team, which can help a business develop a marketing plan.
Grant-writing workshops are an important part of Recovery Connect’s assistance for non-profits. Grant-writing workshops are available to help both inexperienced and experienced applicants.