(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $200,000 in funding to help the Pacific Mountain Workforce Consortium in Tumwater train qualified foresters and restoration professionals in Lewis County. Senator Murray included the funding in the Labor, Health, Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill – the annual spending bill that funds labor priorities. Senator Murray is a senior member of the LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee.
"I know that Eastern Lewis County has struggled with high unemployment and I am pleased to support new forestry jobs in the area," said Senator Murray. "This funding will go toward training Eastern Lewis county residents in stewardship and restoration techniques that will result in new family wage jobs."
The funding that Murray has included will train residents in logging rules and techniques such as cutting requirements and selective logging. It will also help train crews that will perform restoration work after the logging. This training would then allow the loggers to use their knowledge to operate in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Currently, sales of timber cannot proceed until environmental assessments are completed in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Those assessments are expected to be completed this year with the help of the Forest Service.
This funding is estimated to train eight local logging crews, 25 contract loggers, and up to 20 restoration workers who will be ready to work under any necessary regulations once the National Forest is open to timber sales.
Now that Murray's funding has passed the committee, it will move to the full Senate floor for consideration. Senator Murray will continue to use her position in the Senate to help workers access the training they need, while seeking to create the family-wage jobs that strengthen and diversify the local and regional economies of communities across Washington state.