News Releases

Funding to Train Washington State Workers in Key Industries Included in Final Spending Bill

Dec 09 2009

Funding will support workforce development in health care, other key industries

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that the funding she secured for critical Washington state workforce development projects has been included in the final version of the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  The final version of the spending bill came out of a conference committee between the Senate and the House and is expected to pass both bodies shortly before being sent to the President for his signature.

“In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to ensure that our workers have the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This funding will support projects that help employers in key industries like health care get the workers they need to prosper, and that help our workers get the training and skills they need to succeed.”

Workplace-Based Distance Learning for Low-wage, Low-skill Workers: $850,000
Senator Murray worked to include this funding that will allow the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to establish six regional learning laboratories for workplace-based distribution of post-secondary education and training for low-wage adult workers in Washington State.

Project partners will create a state framework to expand delivery of education and training opportunities to low income adult workers. 

“What often is overlooked in our constant push for building a competitive workforce is the complexity of making education and training more accessible to our lowest skilled workers, who must overcome tremendous barriers to attend a traditional classroom setting,” said David Harrison, former chair, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board. “To be competitive in the 21st Century, we need to better use our new technologies to deliver that training where we know our working poor have to be each day- the workplace.”

SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership: $250,000
Senator Murray worked to include this funding that will provide the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges with the resources they need to help provide training, on-the-job support and career development services in the long-term care system in Washington State.

The Training Partnership is a labor-management training trust that will provide quality training, on-the-job and mentoring support, and career development services for 30,000-50,000 home care workers throughout Washington, a state that has shifted its long-term care system from institutional care to home and community-based services. 

The Training Partnership, in cooperation with a consortium of community colleges and network of stakeholder groups will offer a higher standard of training and career ladders in health care through an apprenticeship-based program.  

“Many people perceive that care giving is a ‘dead-end job’,” said David Rolf, Chair, SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership. “The Partnership will transform these jobs into a sustainable career of choice by offering quality training, support, and the opportunity for advancement to over 50,000 long-term care workers in Washington state.”

Pathway to Apprenticeship: $200,000
Senator Murray worked to include this funding that will allow the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO to support the creation of a pathway for young people to apprenticeship training programs in high demand industries across Washington state. 

This project will provide in-service trainings in separate regions of Washington to expose career counselors, career and technical educators and others to the opportunities available through the paid work/training opportunities of Washington’s Joint Apprenticeship Training system. 

“Washington State is in a position to create thousands of new green jobs,” said Rick S. Bender, President, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “If we don’t train the necessary workforce today, we will lose this opportunity for years to come.”

Senator Murray also included the following workforce development projects in the spending bill:

Building a Competitive Supply Chain Management Workforce- Highline Community College: $250,000
To support job creation in the international trade, transportation and logistics sector by improving the image of international trade and creating awareness of career and training opportunities that lead to family wage jobs.

Community Agricultural Vocational Institute- Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Washington: $150,000
To provide workforce and safety and health training to 600 agricultural workers in 14 counties in Washington state.

Inland Norwest Regional Partnership for Sustainable Development- Spokane Area Workforce Development Council: $250,000
To support comprehensive regional planning efforts to address the workforce challenges of the Spokane area.