Freeholders announce first round of grants distributed; Skill Up Monmouth program

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The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders provided updates about the Monmouth County CARES Economic Assistance Grant program and the county’s COVID-19 testing program, and announced the launch of Skill Up Monmouth at a press conference held on Aug. 12.

“Last week we launched the Monmouth County CARES Economic Assistance Grant program and we have already gotten an incredible response. We have received more than 1,750 applications and handled close to 800 phone calls regarding the program,” Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said in a press release. “We have approved nearly $1.7 million in grant dollars and I am really excited to report that the first round of grants are being direct deposited today.”

“We said we wanted to get money into the pockets of our businesses and nonprofit organizations as quickly as possible and I am so proud we were able to do it in less than eight business days,” Arnone said. “As I have said before, no one understands Monmouth County businesses like we do or how important it is for them to get these grant dollars immediately.”

For more information about the Monmouth County CARES Economic Assistance Grant program, go to www.monmouthcountycares.com

“Not only do we feel it is important to fund our businesses, we also feel it is important to do everything we can to help create a skilled workforce,” Arnone said. “We are really excited to announce Skill Up Monmouth, which is a program aimed to help our county residents refresh their job skills or learn new ones.”

Since the onset of COVID-19 related shutdowns in March, tens of thousands of Monmouth County residents have filed for unemployment. As a result, both the Board of Freeholders and the Workforce Development Board recognized the need for continuing to develop skillsets, according to the press release.

“To return to work during these extraordinary circumstances, job-seekers and candidates will need new and better skills in order to set them apart from other applicants,” said Freeholder Pat Impreveduto, liaison to the Division of Workforce Development.

“Today, I am pleased to announce the new program, Skill Up Monmouth, which offers thousands of free career training courses online, exclusively to residents of Monmouth County,” he said.

The majority of the courses work on smartphones, so residents can access their account at any time remotely, according to the press release.

To get started, residents should visit sdmonmouthnj.metrixlearning.com or call the Division of Workforce Development at 732-683-8850 ext. 6011.

Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley offered updates about the Monmouth County COVID-19 Testing Program at locations in Asbury Park, Freehold Borough, Keansburg, Long Branch, Neptune and Red Bank.

“Fortunately, out of the nearly 1,454 tests administered during the duration of this free testing program, only 26 tests have come back positive. These low positivity percentages can be attributed to wearing masks, practicing social distancing and getting tested for the virus,” Kiley said.

The testing site locations, dates and hours of operation are posted on the county’s website at www.visitmonmouth.com

Freeholder Lillian G. Burry thanked the employees of the Monmouth County Park System for all of their hard work throughout the pandemic.

“Many county departments are responding to the physical needs of our residents and doing an exceptional job. The park system is helping those who are emotionally distressed, and those who are in a state of fear, isolation or loneliness and look to the parks for relief,” Burry said.

“We are making sure our parks our safe, while allowing our residents and visitors to enjoy themselves and find peace and enjoyment in these uncertain times,” she said.