Job training grants awarded to Southwest Washington workforce group

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council has been awarded two U.S. Department of Labor grants totaling nearly $2.5 million to train Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum county workers in the information technology and advanced manufacturing industries, the nonprofit agency said Tuesday.

One of the grants — dubbed the Metro Skills Training and Employment Partnership — will send roughly $1.01 million to work readiness, tuition reimbursement and on-the-job training programs for about 190 job seekers in Southwest Washington. The second grant — the Metro In-Sourcing Training Initiative — will provide $1.46 million to pay for training and industry certification, and internships for 475 job seekers and 1,000 existing employees. That grant will focus on career advancement opportunities.

Both grants, spanning a four-year period from summer 2012 to 2015, will target certain occupations, including computer programmers and software engineers in the information technology industry, and electrical and mechanical engineers in the advanced manufacturing industry.

The grants are part of a $9.5 million initiative led by Portland-based Worksystems, Inc., in partnership with the Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County and the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Job seekers in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties who are interested and who have experience in the information technology or advanced manufacturing industries may call 360-735-5089 or send email to businessservices@esd.wa.gov.