TACOMA, Wash. – Hundreds of out-of-school and in-school youth and young adults in Pierce County will participate in career-connected learning experiences over the next two years thanks to grant funding from Career Connect Washington (CCW), an initiative launched in May by Gov. Jay Inslee in an attempt to connect more students with career-based learning opportunities and prepare them for high-demand jobs.

The Career Connect Tacoma-Pierce County partnership was awarded $852,910 to fund its career-connected learning project. Eleven partnerships from communities across the state of Washington were awarded a total of $6.4 million in grant funding through the CCW initiative.

“A four-year degree isn’t the only path to a fulfilling career,” Inslee said. “Business leaders have told us they are looking for talent in everything from information technology to health care. And that’s what this initiative is all about: connecting students to great employers and high-quality job training.”

Career Connect Tacoma-Pierce County – a partnership facilitated in part by WorkForce Central – represents collaboration between the following organizations:

  • WorkForce Central on behalf of the Pierce County Workforce Development Council (WDC)
  • ResCare Workforce Services
  • Bates and Clover Park Technical Colleges
  • Tacoma STEAM Network
  • Western Washington Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC)
  • Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC)
  • Associated General Contractors Educational Foundation (AGCEF)
  • Construction Center of Excellence

The partnership will focus on creating new career-connected learning experiences such as apprenticeships, paid internships, work-readiness cohorts, facilitated workshops, navigation support for high-school completion or enrollment in postsecondary programs, and more.

The partnership also seeks to expand youth and young adult enrollment into existing apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, in addition to creating new, registered apprenticeship programs.

“This kind of partnership has the potential to strengthen the Pierce County economy in multiple ways,” said Linda Nguyen, CEO of WorkForce Central. “In addition to helping local businesses fill high-demand positions with qualified workers, this generous funding will provide hundreds of youth and young adults with an opportunity to enter the labor market on a career path that can provide a family wage.”

The $6.4 million is federal money made available through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). It is the second investment in CCW, following a $1 million investment by JP Morgan Chase in May.

Click here for more information about CCW partnerships statewide.

WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.