The Stand

Washington state wins $23.5M grant in Good Jobs Challenge

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OLYMPIA (Aug. 11, 2022) — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is excited to share some good news for the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) — and for Washington residents.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced last week is that WSAC was among 32 Good Jobs Challenge grant recipients selected from a pool of more than 500 applications. WSAC was awarded $23.5 million over three years to support Washington’s residents’ path to a good job through partnerships that provide education and training.

The Good Jobs Challenge grant will help immediately serve 5,000 Washington workers whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19 and fill a minimum of 3,000 jobs in six high-demand industry sectors:

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

WSAC will be leading this work — called the Washington Jobs Initiative — in close coordination with Career Connect Washington. The Washington State Labor Council’s Workforce Development Department is one of the awarded sub-contractors.

“Our partnership will work to ensure workers have awareness and access to union jobs with family sustaining wages and benefits,” said Kairie Pierce, the WSLC’s Lead Workforce Development Director.

The Washington Jobs Initiative also will include a detailed focus on equity and diversity. Through targeted outreach in partnership with 200 community-based organizations, the program 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.

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs to assist efforts to accelerate economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and build more resilient local economies. Learn more here.

“A trained workforce is essential to ensuring that the United States can compete and succeed in the 21st century,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Commerce Department is able to make once-in-a-generation investments in industry-driven and locally-led workforce systems that will create high-quality jobs and accelerate regional economic growth, especially for underserved communities.”

The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is a cabinet-level state agency that works to raise educational attainment through strategic engagement, program management, and partnerships. Learn more here.

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