Governor Jay Inslee announced yesterday Kitsap County, along with Clallam and Jefferson counties which together form the Olympic Consortium, was awarded $193,000 to help return the long-term unemployed to work. Funding will be utilized to serve 80 long-term unemployed individuals with the goal of placing 64 of them into jobs.
“Thousands of workers with good work histories have been left behind in our economic recovery,” Governor Inslee said. “It’s exciting to advance our partnership with our local workforce development councils to start turning that around.”
Overall, a total of $4 million was awarded to Washington state’s 12 workforce development councils from federal Dislocated Worker Rapid Response funds. The councils will deliver services to the long-term unemployed through WorkSource offices, partnering with local employment and training providers.
“Workforce development programs successfully help businesses and job seekers. We know that people who use WorkSource services have great results finding jobs. It’s a significant return on investment,” according to Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, Chair of the Olympic Consortium.
Through extensive outreach in Kitsap, Clallam and Jefferson counties, the funds awarded will be utilized to conduct a more intensive version of the Job Hunter workshop series, intended to supply the unemployed with job search knowledge as quickly as possible. The goal is to help build momentum for the job seeker to engage more readily with job club members and potential employers. On-the-job training and internships for those who need recent work experience or to brush-up in employer-specific skills and procedures will also be provided. Other services will also be available to support job-seeking efforts.
Locally, the problem of long-term unemployed workers is acute. Data received from the state Employment Security Department shows that from July 2008 to March 2014, there were 4,786 workers who exhausted their unemployment insurance. Of this group, 65 percent are ages 45 and older and 87 percent have a high school diploma or higher. Within the Olympic Consortium, 69 percent of unemployed workers are from Kitsap, 9 percent from Jefferson and 22 percent from Clallam. The top five industries here where long-term unemployed workers originate are construction, retail, health care and social assistance, public administration and manufacturing.
May 15, 2014/Kitsap County Press Release