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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $23.5 Million to Develop Multi-Sector Workforce Training Program in Washington State Through American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge

Competition Provides Once-In-A-Generation Funding to Locally Driven, Diverse Partnerships to Create and Develop Workforce Training Programs that Support Local Economies

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $23.5 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to Washington Student Achievement Council, Olympia, Washington, to create the Washington Jobs Initiative, a multi-sector workforce training program spanning healthcare, energy, information technology, financial and professional services, manufacturing, and construction.

This program will connect jobseekers with local, quality jobs through its career pathway project, which supports the state’s largest industries through a coalition of industry, organized labor, state government and other stakeholders. The Washington Jobs Initiative will build sectoral partnerships in six high-demand sectors: advanced manufacturing and aerospace, construction, energy and clean technology, financial services, healthcare, and information technology and cybersecurity.

“President Biden's American Rescue Plan funding through the Good Jobs Challenge is a necessary investment to boost regional economies and help Americans get quality jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This funding will provide a range of opportunities to create innovative workforce systems that will support many of the state's major sectors while strengthening Washington's economic resilience.”

“The Good Jobs Challenge is supporting initiatives that will create lasting positive change in communities across America,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The Washington Jobs Initiative will strengthen the state and nation’s economic recovery by providing good-paying jobs in industries crucial to the economy and national security.”

“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.”

“Providing Washingtonians more opportunities to train for 21st century jobs is critical to growing our economy,” said Senator Maria Cantwell. “This $23.5 million grant will do this by making a significant investment in career-based learning. This helps job seekers acquire new job skills that are in-demand in advanced manufacturing, cyber, health care, clean-energy technology and all the growing industries in Washington state. Employers have workforce shortages and providing this funding to train people means Washington state’s workforce will be ready to fill skilled jobs quickly.”

“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.”

“Even before this pandemic, folks were feeling the impacts of disruptive economic change. We’ve got to make sure workers across our region are empowered to navigate that change – not be victims of it,” said Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-06). “I’m thrilled that because of the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress, the Economic Development Administration is providing a crucial investment to help launch the Washington Jobs Initiative. This new partnership will help ensure workers in our region have the skills they need to land new jobs, earn bigger paychecks, and make a better life for their families – while supplying employers in our region with workers who are ready to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy. It’s a big win for Washington.”

“Workers are the backbone of our economy. Ensuring they are able to find good-paying jobs is essential to our societal well-being and economic recovery,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). “The Washington Jobs Initiative will provide countless workers in my home state of Washington with jobs in critically-needed sectors. I am grateful for Secretary Raimondo’s partnership in this critical endeavor and in our shared commitment to continue uplifting our workers.”

This grant is funded through the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge. The program awarded grants to 32 worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country. The $500 million program is expanding opportunities for more Americans to access and secure good-paying jobs by investing in innovative approaches to advance worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships.

The 32 awardee projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants. By partnering with stakeholders such as labor unions, community colleges and industry, these projects will solve for local talent needs, increase the supply of trained workers and help workers secure jobs in 15 key industries that are essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development. Through a holistic, integrated partnership approach, these projects will provide tangible opportunities and security for American workers, focusing on serving and supporting a broad range of underserved communities and connecting workers with the training, skills, and support services needed to successfully secure a good job. For more information on the grantees, please visit our fact sheet. (PDF)

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 4 a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be more resilient to future economic shocks.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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