(Washington D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today announced $4,145,400 in federal grants for workforce training programs at community colleges in two counties in Washington state. The grants will go to Everett Community College in Snohomish County and to Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College in Whatcom County. The grants were awarded as part of the Department of Labor’s “Community-Based Job Training Grants” program.
“These grants will go towards giving workers the skills they need to work in industries critical to their communities,” said Senator Murray. “In Snohomish County, this funding will develop workers’ manufacturing skills so that they are suited to work in the area’s aerospace and trade dependent industries. In Bellingham, these funds will provide new healthcare skills to meet the new demands of the area’s growing population. This funding is a step forward that will assist hundreds of Washington state residents get trained and employed.”
The “Community-Based Job Training Grants” program was set up to meet the changing needs of American industries in the global economy. Many American businesses in high growth, high demand industries are facing real problems in their search for workers with the right skills to succeed. This highly competitive grant program focuses on building the capacity of community colleges so that they can train workers with these newly required skills.
“This is an effort to bridge a gap that I have seen so many times in my travels around our state,” said Murray. “Businesses leaders tell me that they have jobs, but that they need workers with the certificates or skills to fill them. Residents tell me they are eager to learn new skills, but don’t have the resources they need. Today we are helping to build the resources that both employer and employee need to succeed.”
The schools funded by these grants have each outlined the challenges they face, the ways in which they will address those challenges, and projected outcomes from their program. The Everett Community College program aims to tackle the challenge of producing high skilled manufacturing jobs through cutting-edge learning techniques. They aim to produce 600 new graduates in advanced manufacturing fields.
The Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College programs will address the need for more healthcare workers in the third fastest growing county in the state. To meet this need they will focus on expanded access to the college’s healthcare programs for low-income and underrepresented populations. They project that several hundred students will benefit from this program over the next three years.
Senator Murray will chair the Senate Subcommittee that oversees workforce development in the 110th Congress. She has also worked to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) which is critical to workforce training programs across Washington state.