$360K grant will boost employment program in Pierce County

WorkForce Central of Tacoma-Pierce County, an organization that aims to put job seekers on a path to employment, was recently awarded a $360,000 grant from the Building Changes Washington Families Fund for a two-year project to recruit and place homeless families into training within the advanced manufacturing industry to lead to employment in high-demand careers.

The participants will be homeless families identified by WorkForce Central through a network of participating housing and workforce programs. The grant funds will hire a navigator to recruit, assess and place homeless participants into the Manufacturing Academy. The funds will also pay the tuition for the Academy. The anticipated number of participants over the two year period is 60.

Most will participate in WorkForce Central’s Manufacturing Academy, a 10-week training program with a 95 per cent completion rate and an 85 per cent placement rate for graduating participants. This public/private partnership integrates business, apprenticeship and technical college education to certify graduates with a “general manufacturing” education and the professional skills employers identified as essential to their workplace.

Workforce Central is committed to increasing the employment rate of our homeless families and realizes they are often unaware of opportunities for workforce training and placement assistance,” said WorkForce Central CEO Linda Nguyen. “This program offers our residents a pathway to careers with advancement opportunities in high demand industries and provides the skilled talent our business community needs to grow and create additional jobs in our local economy.”

Building Changes is a nonprofit organization working to end homelessness across Washington State. It fosters collaborative partnerships with government entities, community-based service providers and private philanthropy and harnesses innovative, evidence-based strategies to collectively address the barriers to housing stability. Building Changes support partners to do this work through grantmaking, capacity building and policy guidance.

Building Changes oversees the Washington Families Fund, a unique public-private partnership created in 2004 by the Washington State Legislature. The Washington Families Fund is dedicated to reducing and ending family homelessness statewide by funding model programs and innovative strategies that address the problems of homelessness both at the systems and family level.