Washington State received a $23.5 million federal grant for the Good Jobs Challenge

OLYMPIA, Washington, August 14, 2022 — On August 3, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced that Washington State was awarded a $23.5 million Good Jobs Challenge Grant to support the state’s strong career-related training system that serves thousands of students across the state. These apprenticeship and technical training programs are an important part of the state’s efforts to connect students to work-based learning programs that lead to paid work experience and well-paying jobs.

The Good Jobs Challenge part of a suite of US bailout programs developed by the EDA to fairly distribute its $3 billion allocation to help communities nationwide in their efforts to build a better America by accelerating economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and building more
resilient and shock-resistant local economies.

“Career-focused pathways are hugely popular, include communities that are underrepresented in the traditional talent pool, and are one of the most effective methods to meet today’s workforce needs, especially in the continued wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Across all sectors of the state‘s economy, employers need to find talent, especially in high-demand fields, and the Good Jobs Challenge grant will significantly enhance our ongoing efforts through Career Connect,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “This will support our progress on inclusiveness and equity in the workforce, giving Washingtonians from underrepresented communities a pathway to thousands of great jobs, placing those furthest from opportunities in good jobs and helping Washington’s economy continue its strong recovery.”

“Thanks to the US bailout, the economy is no longer on the mend – it’s on the move,” said Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02). “This critical investment will connect talented Washingtonians to well-paying jobs in in-demand sectors like advanced manufacturing and aerospace, clean technology and cybersecurity, supporting long-term economic growth in the Pacific Northwest. and strengthening the region’s global competitiveness.”

The states Washington Student Success Councilin collaboration with Career Connect Washington, was among 32 fellows selected from a pool of 509 applicants. The Good Jobs Challenge grant will help CCW and its partners immediately serve 5,000 workers whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19 and fill at least 3,000 jobs.

Their Washington Jobs Initiative proposal builds on CCW’s efforts in six high-demand sectors:

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace
  • Construction
  • Clean energy and technology
  • Financial services
  • Health care
  • Information technology and cybersecurity

Many of the sectors include training for union jobs. Examples of jobs in the program include software developer, machinist, power engineer, nursing assistant, and construction manager.

The Washington Jobs Initiative also includes a detailed focus on equity and diversity. Through targeted outreach in partnership with 200 community organizations, the Washington Jobs Initiative hopes to achieve more equitable outcomes for workers of color, Indigenous workers, low-income workers, rural workers, homeless workers, language learners, English and disabled workers. Their goal is for turnout rates to match or exceed each group’s representation in the state’s population.

State leaders estimate that more than 70% of jobs created in Washington state require some sort of post-secondary degree, but only about 40% of young people have one. Inslee launched CCW in 2017 help more students pursue well-paying jobs after high school by enrolling in registered apprenticeship and technical training programs.

CCW is a coalition of industry, labor, state government and other stakeholders. Several major Washington employers have signed letters of commitment, including Kaiser Permanente, Providence, BECU and McKinstry. Since its launch, CCW has created more than 100 registered learning and career-building programs for more than 21,000 students in every region of the state. CCW plans to expand its program to serve approximately 60,000 students each year. The program is supported by state and federal funding, philanthropy, and employer investment.

Students or employers interested in the Career Launch program can visit careerconnectwa.org for information.

Source of content: Press release from Governor Jay Inslee

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