State Labor Officials Offer $19 Million for Workforce Training Grants

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By Lynne Terry

State officials have nearly $19 million to spend on training Oregonians to work in construction, health care and manufacturing.

Earlier this month, the state Bureau of Labor and Industries opened the bidding process for training and apprenticeship programs for underserved communities, including women, people of color, rural residents, low-income residents, people with disabilities, tribal communities and veterans.

The money is part of Gov. Kate Brown’s $100 million Future Ready Oregon plan that was passed by the state Legislature in February and aims to stem Oregon’s workforce shortage and bolster the economy while training residents for careers.

Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle said the money will be used for training and apprenticeship programs in manufacturing and health care and to expand training and support in the construction industry to help participants become certified in a trade.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries will approve applications worth up to $1.25 million as part of its large grant program. Those will be limited to $6 million in this first round. Grants up to $10,000 are open to community organizations, tribal communities, organizations that serve underserved populations and existing programs. Applicants have until June 2 at 5 p.m. to submit their proposals in this first round. Two other rounds will be held later in the year.

The Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Council will approve the program elements and will announce the awards during a public meeting, according to Amanda Kraus, an agency spokeswoman said.

“Successful programs will align with BOLI’s focus on creating equitable access to apprenticeship with an outcomes-driven approaches to reaching, retaining, and graduating Oregonians from historically underserved communities,” the labor agency said in a statement.

“This is a time-sensitive opportunity, and we encourage all to share this information,” Hoyle said in a statement. “This is a historic investment and utilizing the apprenticeship model in new industries is our path to securing more family-sustaining wages for workers without the burden of student loan debt.”

This article first appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle

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