Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce today awarded two grants, totaling $47 million, to the Washington Technology Industry Association in Issaquah and Washington Student Achievement Council in Olympia for workforce development programs.

The grants were among 32 industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country as part of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge funded by the American Rescue Plan. The 32 winning projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants, according to a news release from the department.

WTIA will receive $23.5 million to support Apprenti, an apprenticeship program designed to train workers for cloud-computing jobs. The Apprenti program will not be limited to Washington state but will help 11 regions countrywide develop their local technology workforce with a focus on diverse talent pools and underrepresented communities, according to information provided by a Commerce representative.

The Washington Student Achievement Council will receive $23.5 million to create a new program called the Washington Jobs Initiative. The Washington Jobs Initiative will build sectoral partnerships in six high-demand industries — advanced manufacturing and aerospace, construction, energy, and clean technology, financial services, health care, and information technology and cybersecurity — to connect jobseekers with local, quality jobs through a career pathway project.

By partnering with labor unions, community colleges, industry, and other stakeholders, the 32 projects will help solve nationally local talent needs, increase the supply of trained workers, and support workers securing jobs in 15 key industries essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development, the news release said. 

“A trained workforce is essential to ensuring that the United States can compete and succeed in the 21st century,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in the release. “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Commerce Department is able to make once-in-a-generation investments in industry-driven, and locally-led workforce systems that will create high-quality jobs and accelerate regional economic growth, especially for underserved communities.”