$2M in grants will help former Boeing workers

EVERETT — Workforce Snohomish is getting $2 million from federal and state tax dollars to help Boeing workers who were laid off or took buyouts in recent months.

The aerospace giant has slashed its workforce around the world and in Washington, where nearly half of its roughly 145,000 employees are based. In the first five months of the year, Boeing’s workforce in the state dropped by 3,196 — from 71,881 to 68,685, according to data on the company’s website.

Workforce Snohomish is providing a list of services and support to help workers who have lost their jobs land on their feet. The effort will be based out of the WorkSource office in Lynnwood.

“We’re trying to get as many people into the system as possible,” said Erin Monroe, Workforce Snohomish’s chief executive.

To help pay for the services, Workforce Snohomish has received $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Labor and $400,000 from the state’s Employment Security Department. Workforce Snohomish applied for the grants in March. That money is being combined with funding from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“This funding ensures that we have the space and resources needed to accommodate affected workers and their families while still providing quality services to the community overall,” Monroe said.

Boeing began cutting jobs last year, when it slashed 7,357 positions in Washington and nearly 11,000 around the world. Company executives have said they expect to downsize at a similar pace this year.

Snohomish County has lost 4,000 jobs in aerospace manufacturing in the past 12 months, according to data released Thursday by the state’s Employment Security Department.

Workforce Snohomish has started hiring former Boeing workers to help others transition to post-Boeing careers, Monroe said. The group used the same approach after Kimberly-Clark closed its paper mill in Everett in 2012, she said.

Among other things, Workforce Snohomish can help qualifying workers pay for child and dependent care, transportation, medical bills, clothing, emergency services and moving expenses, as well as tools and books to get started in a new career.

The group is assisting with job training and other employment programs.

Workforce Snohomish also received a federal grant worth $277,511 to provide job training and support services to homeless veterans. The grant came from the U.S. Department of Labor and was announced Monday.

For more information, contact Workforce Snohomish at 425-921-3423.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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