Gov. Chris Gregoire and Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee announced this week that $23 million in federal stimulus grants are being distributed throughout Washington to pay for summer employment and training programs for at-risk youths and young adults.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized additional funding for local employment and training programs sponsored through the federal Workforce Investment Act. Summer youth programs must provide participants with work experience. They may include classroom training and other services to help participants improve their work qualifications.
To be eligible for the summer youth program, participants must be between the ages of 16 to 24 (the age range previously was capped at 21) and low-income. Services are focused on youths who are most in need, including those who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out, youths who are in foster care, homeless, runaway, disabled, or those whose parents are incarcerated. Military veterans and their spouses who meet the age and income criteria also may participate and will receive priority service.
The Employment Security Department will apportion the money among the state’s 12 workforce development councils based on a federal formula linked to local poverty and unemployment rates.
The services themselves are obtained or arranged through local WorkSource offices. Locations are printed the blue pages of telephone books or online at Go2WorkSource.com
The amount of each local grant is as follows for these workforce development areas:
— Olympic (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap counties), $890,834
— Pacific Mountain (Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Thurston counties), $1.7 million
— Northwest (Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom counties), $1.2 million
— Snohomish County, $1.5 million
— Seattle-King County, $3.4 million
— Tacoma-Pierce, $2.5 million
— Southwest Washington (Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum counties), $2.1 million
— North-Central Washington (Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan counties), $1.2 million
— South-Central Washington (Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, Yakima counties), $1.7 million
— Eastern Washington (Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman counties), $949,534
— Benton-Franklin, $884,221
— Spokane County, $1.7 million
Washington state is administering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments with a level of transparency and accountability. Gov. Gregoire created a Web site — http://www.recovery.wa.gov — so every Washingtonian can see where tax dollars are going and hold government accountable for the results. On the federal level, President Barack Obama has appointed Vice President Joseph Biden to oversee all states’ recovery efforts and to root out waste and fraud.
To track economic recovery funding invested through Employment Security, visit http://www.esd.wa.gov/recovery .