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Snohomish County puts $4.3M into workforce development programs

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(The Center Square) – Snohomish County is looking to improve the region’s workforce through $4.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars towards seven workforce development programs.

The awarded programs focus on the youth, immigrants and refugees, and disabled populations. Funded projects provide employment training and address various challenges participants may encounter when seeking employment. The final goal is to connect participants to stable jobs or career pathways.

Statistics from the Washington State Employment Security Department show that Snohomish County’s unemployment rate is 3.4% as of June 2023. Approximately 446,218 county residents are in the workforce, while 15,756 are unemployed.

Although countywide unemployment rates are near historic lows, county officials are concerned about some populations lagging behind in employment. For instance, residents ages 16-24 have an unemployment rate of 11.9%, which is nearly four times the countywide unemployment rate of 3.4%, according to a press release.

“Snohomish County has made workforce development a high priority even prior to the pandemic. From advanced manufacturing and aerospace to building and construction trades, we must develop a skilled workforce for the future success of our region,” Snohomish County Vice Chair Nate Nehring said in a statement. “These investments will help ensure we can connect even more individuals to high-quality, good-paying careers in industries where our county urgently needs more workers.”

The awarded programs include:

Workforce Snohomish’s Data Analytics Boot Camp, which is receiving $1.5 million to host a data analytics boot camp for participants ages 18-24. The program intends to accelerate technical abilities and add data analytics to the participants’ overall skill set.

Economic Alliance Snohomish County and Snohomish STEM Network will use an awarded $1.2 million from the county for its Youth STEM Career Exploration program. The two organizations intend for the funds to increase STEM programming access to over 5,000 students.

Edmonds College’s Link Light Rail Construction Pre-Apprenticeships will receive $594,549 for its partnership with Sound Transit and the City of Lynnwood to offer a construction pre-apprenticeship program to train students to work in the trades supporting Snohomish County industries that include transportation, commercial and residential infrastructure.

Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeships is utilizing $474,410 for the expansion of aerospace and advanced manufacturing adult and youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Youth with disabilities and high school students at Sno-Isle Skills Center and school districts from Everett, Snohomish, and Granite Falls will be the focused demographic for the program.

HopeWorks’ Stipends for Training Academy will receive $245,920 to expand supportive services provided to trainees in the organization’s training academy. Participants engage in pre-employment education and paid hands-on job training in various career pathways.

Housing Hope’s Human Services Career Pathways is using $169,330 to develop a human services career pathway in the existing Housing Hope Employment and Education program that serves unemployed, underemployed, and underserved communities.

Lastly, Cares of Washington’s Enhanced Access and Job Retention is receiving $128,672 to increase its employment access and intensive job retention services to people with disabilities, people with low incomes, non-native English speakers, and women.

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