(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $500,000 for a critical program that helps build a higher skilled workforce in Washington state. The funding will be used to help expand the Washington Workforce Association's (WWA) In Demand Scholars program. 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.
"If we want our kids to have a chance to succeed in the global economy we must make investments in programs that build the skills they will need," said Senator Murray. "This investment pays great dividends for students, their families, and the local economy. The In Demand Scholars program changes lives by showing kids an achievable, stable career path and supporting them every step of the way with mentors, internships, and the participation of local employers. I’m so pleased to continue to support this highly successful program and look forward to watching it benefit even more young people across our state."
The $500,000 that Senator Murray included for the Washington Workforce Association (WWA) will help to expand the In Demand Scholars program to additional areas across Washington State. The In Demand Scholars program was created in 2004 by the Washington Workforce Association, the Washington State Labor Council and the Association of Washington Businesses and was funded by $400,000 that Senator Murray secured in the 2004 LHHS Appropriations bill. The program prepares students to enter local, high demand occupations through outreach to local employers, job shadowing, internships, and scholarships for post-secondary training. Using the funds Senator Murray secured in 2004, the program worked with 144 high school students to move toward placing them in new high-skill jobs earning at least $25,000 per year. The program focuses on those students who may not otherwise attempt to achieve a four-year college degree.
"The In Demand Scholars program is a highly effective initiative that is driven by service to others," said Tim Probst, CEO, Washington Workforce Association. "We're doing great things for students and doing it efficiently and competently. Senator Patty Murray's support has been the engine that has helped us move forward and we thank her for endorsing this project. This project will change several hundred students' lives for the better. This program will help kids who may have otherwise dropped out of school, move on to secure middle class family-wage jobs throughout their career."