Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County's (WIB) Covid Response

Co-creating a streamlined service to deliver badly needed relief funds to small businesses.

The Challenge

Helping small businesses in need amongst an epidemic

After the Covid-19 pandemic devastated small businesses in Tulare County, WIB saw a need to provide these small businesses with disaster funding and skilled workers they needed to thrive.

In a response to this need, WIB created the Tulare County Small Business Covid Relief Grant and then again with the Tulare County Microbusiness Covid Relief Fund in which funds were distributed to businesses where Covid significantly impacted their business.

About the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County (WIB)

The Workforce Investment Board makes critical investments in workforce training and education so that businesses can compete and prosper. Their strategic priorities include: high growth industry employment and training, work readiness certificate, pipeline strategies, business services and employment connection.

WIB Computer&Phone-1

Covid Relief

When COVID swept across the country, all Americans felt a brutal hit to their livelihoods. A comprehensive response to the disaster needed to come from governing bodies. However, just like politics, enforcing relief funds to citizens remains a deeply local project.

Middlestate played an integral role in Tulare County relief rollout. Partnering with the Workforce Investment Board, Middlestate helped craft the design and web infrastructure that helped deliver swift aid directly to small businesses.

Our studio went about its design thinking for this particular challenge with two main themes centered in mind: accessibility and simplicity. Addressing accessibility concerns ranged from considering language – we integrated bilingual instructions onto our application for Spanish and English speakers. On the application side, we reduced each step into the absolute essentials. Powered by Typeform, a top-of-the-line survey tool, users experienced a quick application experience, only being asked critical questions for aid eligibility. 

As our relationship with WIB continued with the mini-grants into a total of three similar rounds of funding, our system design that featured a minimalist and inclusive front-end, a simple bi-lingual form that made applying easy, and back-end management powered by Hubspot made for a seamless experience for WIB employees.

All in all? The website, with the dynamic form from Typeform, launched in a matter of weeks for the initial project. The local demand? WIB ended up evaluating 1,820 submissions, and awarding 60% of applicants with grants. In total, $5,370,000 of necessary aid went to the community. Talk about doing good in the best way possible.

Annual Report

The Agile Annual Report shows the extraordinary measures took to stem the spread of the pandemic which sharply curbed economic activity, closed schools, and disrupted supply chains in unprecedented ways. The unemployment rate in Tulare County went from near-all-time lows to all-time highs in a single month.

WIB's mission statement is simple, to ensure that businesses have the skilled workers they need to prosper. They make certain that every member of the community can gain valuable skills to find a good job and raise a family in the community.

In the annual report you can read about their journey and the remarkable efforts the Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County made to meet the moment.