SPOKANE– Career Connect Spokane has been awarded $150,000 in federal funds to support apprenticeship training programs for area youth. Gov. Jay Inslee announced a total of $6.4 million in grants to 11 Career Connect teams across Washington, expecting to benefit roughly 29,000 youth through 2019. These funds support the Career Connect Washington initiative Inslee launched May 31 at the Governor’s Summit on Career Connected Learning.
The statewide initiative expands registered apprenticeship programs and puts a new focus on youth registered apprenticeships. The awardees expect to move over 1,400 young people, plus more than 400 adults, into new apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships in fields such as advanced manufacturing, health care, agricultural irrigation systems, building trades, IT and maritime manufacturing.
The Next Generation Zone provides the young adults of Spokane County a one-stop location for education, career skills training, and community and employment resources. The Next Generation Zone has been setting youth up for success in achieving their life and career goals since 2007. Career Connect Spokane plans to use new federal funding to refine its local careerconnected learning programs, like the Next Generation Zone, with a strong focus on identifying employers willing to expand or launch registered apprenticeships for youth and adults, internships and pre-application slots.
The Spokane Area Workforce Development Council and the Spokane STEM Network led the local application team, which brought businesses together with schools, apprenticeships, community and technical colleges, and local youth organizations to connect youth with local employers.
“Developing talent in STEM fields is a key economic driver for businesses in our region,” says Meg Lindsay, Spokane STEM Network Director. “The Career Connect Spokane partnership highlights pathways for our youth to earn and learn while training for careers that provide good living wages. We are excited to be a partner in this work across our region.”
“Work-based learning is a proven strategy to help us increase the supply of skilled workers that our area needs,” states Mark Mattke, chief executive officer of the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council. “This investment supports our goals of providing youth and adults with opportunities to learn in-demand skills and start careers in growing sectors of our economy.”
This $6.4 million in federal funds is the second investment in Career Connect Washington, following a $1 million investment by JP Morgan Chase in May. Representatives from business, labor, apprenticeship programs, the Office of the Governor, the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Employment Security Department, Washington STEM, the Department of Labor and Industries, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and the state Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board developed the grant criteria and made recommendations on funding to the governor.