Local nonprofit gets $4.32M for job training programs

Workforce development council serves Southwest Washington region

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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A Vancouver nonprofit that oversees job training programs and helps employers recruit workers in Southwest Washington has received $4.32 million to help job seekers boost their skills and find employment.

The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, serving Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, received the funds from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

The department distributed the money by way of the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the federal Workforce Investment Act.

The funds will be used through next June to help laid-off workers, low-income adults and disadvantaged young people find jobs or receive job training. "These new dollars will continue to support our efforts to get people back to work," Jeanne Bennett, executive director for the council, said in a news release Monday.

The funds arrive as the region's economy remains sluggish. Clark County, for example, shed an estimated 700 jobs in August and posted a preliminary unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

That rate will likely be revised to above 11 percent to account for jobless county residents who previously worked in Oregon.

The $4.32 million received by the workforce development council is about 2 percent less than what it got last year, when it was awarded $4.42 million. The final amount may change depending on congressional budget action, said Ashley Wilson, a spokeswoman with the state Employment Security Department.

The money will pay for counseling, skill-assessment, job-search assistance and training services. The services are available through local WorkSource offices in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. Office locations, emails and phone numbers may be obtained by going online: WorkSource office directory.

The state Employment Security Department will distribute some $48.9 million this year to the state's 12 workforce development councils based on their population, unemployment levels and number of disadvantaged people.

Aaron Corvin: http://twitter.com/col_econ; http://on.fb.me/AaronCorvin; 360-735-4518; aaron.corvin@columbian.com.