Washington was the first state to request and be authorized to redirect $4 million in federal mass-layoff funds to efforts to reduce long-term unemployment. All 12 workforce development councils in Washington competed for the grants and each will receive a portion of the money.
The Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, representing Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, will receive $334,000 for the effort.
“Thousands of workers with good work histories have been left behind in our economic recovery,” Inslee said. “It’s exciting to advance our partnership with our local workforce development councils to start turning that around.”
The workforce development councils will deliver services to the long-term unemployed through local WorkSource facilities. Services will be customized to meet the needs of the local economy.
In each community, workforce development councils will partner with local employment and training providers to implement the initiative, recruit and organize employers and coordinate worker participation.
According to Employment Security records, most of the current long-term unemployed in Washington held jobs for a year or more immediately before the recession. About one-third have college degrees, and another 16% have at least some college-level education. Many were laid off from highly skilled jobs, including those in finance, management, health care and the sciences.
“Employers need to get past the idea that these are tainted workers,” said Employment Security Commissioner Dale Peinecke. “We’re talking about thousands of qualified people with stable work histories and high-level skills. Employers may miss out if they automatically screen out anyone who was laid off during the recession.”
Last year, WorkSource delivered employment and training assistance to more than 240,000 job seekers and served nearly 5,600 Washington employers. Each year, about 140,000 WorkSource customers find jobs.