Washington state awarded $23.5 million federal Good Jobs Challenge grant

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

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs developed by EDA to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building more
resilient, shockproof local economies.

“Career-connected pathways are hugely popular, inclusive of communities underrepresented in the traditional talent pool, and are one of the most effective methods for responding to today’s workforce needs, especially in the continuous wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Across every sector of the state’s economy, employers need to find talent, particularly in high demand fields, and the Good Jobs Challenge grant will noticeably strengthen our ongoing efforts through Career Connect,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “This will support our progress on inclusivity and equity in the workforce, giving Washingtonians from underrepresented communities a pathway to thousands of great jobs, putting those furthest from opportunity into good jobs and helping Washington’s economy continue its strong recovery.”

“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the economy is no longer on the mend – it is 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, fostering long-term economic growth in the Pacific Northwest and boosting the region’s global competitiveness.”

The state’s Washington Student Achievement Council, in collaboration with Career Connect Washington, was among 32 grant recipients 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 were impacted by COVID-19 and fill a minimum of 3,000 jobs.

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

  • Advanced manufacturing and aerospace
  • Construction
  • Energy and clean technology
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Information technology and cybersecurity

Several of the sectors include training for union membership jobs. Examples of jobs in the program include software developer, machinist, energy 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 based organizations, the Washington Jobs Initiative hopes to achieve more equitable outcomes for workers of color, Indigenous workers, low-income workers, rural workers, workers experiencing homelessness, English language learners, and workers with disabilities. Their goal is for participation rates to match or exceed each group’s representation in the state’s population.

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

CCW is a coalition of industry, organized 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 apprenticeship and Career Launch programs for more than 21,000 students in every region of the state. CCW anticipates expanding its program to serve an anticipated 60,000 students each year. The program is supported through state and federal funding, philanthropy and employer investments.

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

Content Source: Governor Jay Inslee Press Release

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