Workforce Southwest Washington receives $2.25 million for COVID-19 workers assistance

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Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) has secured more than $2.25 million in grants to aid Southwest Washington workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization announced.

The funding comes from three U.S. Department of Labor Dislocated Worker grants and will support job search, training and re-employment services for workers in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, a release from WSW stated.

WorkSource, Next and Goodwill of the Olympic and Rainier Region, which operates in Cowlitz County, will receive the grant funds, the release stated, providing individuals laid off from work due to COVID-19 with job search, training and support services such as food assistance and connections to housing resources.

The training and employment placement will focus on “stable, living-wage employment” for clients in technology, manufacturing and healthcare industries, the release stated.

WSW will also invest funds in disaster relief employment support for the Boys and Girls Clubs, Clark County Food Bank, Goodwill of the Olympic and Rainier Region, Ethnic Support Council, Council for the Homeless and Bridgeview Resource Center. The funding is intended to allow those organizations to temporarily expand capacity to serve laid-off workers.

The third grant will provide those affected by opioid use and addiction with employment and training services and mentoring, according to the release.

“With more than 21,000 Southwest Washington residents filing continuing unemployment claims, the need in our community is great,” Workforce Southwest Washington CEO Kevin Perkey said in the release. “We’re investing in short-term job-readiness training to get laid-off workers back to work quickly and longer-term training to help people get the skills they need to secure good-paying jobs as the economy recovers.”

The local WorkSource centers in Vancouver and Kelso are providing job and employment assistance virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and can be reached by phone, email and video conference.

The grants will provide services beginning this month through March 2022, the release stated.

— The Reflector

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