Richie del Puerto watches as a student works to jump start a car during class at Sno-Isle Technical Skills Center on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Richie del Puerto watches as a student works to jump start a car during class at Sno-Isle Technical Skills Center on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Washington’s Job Skills Program has trained employees for 40 years

Since 1983, over 75,000 workers have taken advantage of the state program.

OLYMPIA — Washington’s Job Skills Program — the state’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant initiative that helps train employees — turns 40 years this year.

Since 1983, more than 75,000 workers and 1,000 employers have taken advantage of the program.

Employers work with local community or technical colleges, universities and licensed private career schools to train new employees or retrain current employees. Employers pay for 50% of the training through cash and in-kind payments — by providing materials, supplies and equipment or paying wages and benefits.

“The Job Skills Program has been Washington’s most consistent state investment strategy in direct training for businesses,” said Paul Francis, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, which oversees the program.

“The program is an invaluable tool for employees, employers and Washington state, supporting people and businesses in new and emerging industries, upgrading employee skills and in communities struggling with high unemployment,” Francis said.

“Employers get exactly the training they need on their schedule and their location, and employees learn valuable skills that will help them in their careers for years to come,” said Carolyn McKinnon, who oversees the program for the state board.

From July 2021 to Sept. 2022, the most recent data available, the Job Skills Program supported 109 projects and 6,782 trainees.

Most of the grants — 64% — went to the manufacturing industry, including aerospace, marine, wood and paper products and high-tech companies.

The remaining grants were awarded to firms involved with food production, agriculture, construction and environmental services, as well as health, retail and hospitality services.

Small businesses saw the most benefit from the program, with 60% of grants going to companies with 100 or fewer employees.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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