On August 3 the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded two grants to Washington based organizations for workforce development programs. The grants total $47 million and are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Among the 32 recipients were the state’s Washington Student Achievement Council, in collaboration with Career Connect Washington, which will receive $23.5 million to create a new program called the Washington Jobs Initiative. This grant will assist Career Connect Washington and its partners to immediately serve 5,000 workers whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19, and will fill a minimum of 3,000 jobs, according to Gov. Inslee.
Washington Jobs Initiative will build partnerships in six high demand industries: advanced manufacturing and aerospace, construction, energy and clean technology, financial services, healthcare, information technology and cybersecurity.
The partnerships will connect jobseekers with local employment opportunities. Several major Washington employers have already signed letters of commitment, including Kaiser Permanente, Providence, BECU and McKinstry.
The Washington Technology Industry Association, located in Issaquah, will also receive $23.5 million to support Apprenti, which is an apprenticeship program designed to train workers for cloud computing jobs.
The Apprenti program will assist 10 additional regions across the country, including Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. The goal of the program is for these regions, including Washington, to develop their local technology workforce, with a primary focus on diverse talent pools and underrepresented communities.
Communities of focus for these initiatives include people of color, formerly incarcerated, Indigenous workers, those recovering from substance abuse disorder, low-income workers, rural workers, people with disabilities, workers experiencing homelessness and English language learners.