Workforce SW Washington secures more than $2 million to aid workers impacted by COVID-19

Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) has secured more than $2.25 million in grants to aid Southwest Washington workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Funds from three U. S. Department of Labor Dislocated Worker grants will support job search, training and re-employment services for workers in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. 

WorkSource, Next and Goodwill of the Olympic and Rainier Region, which operates in Cowlitz County, will receive the grant funds, providing individuals laid off from work due to COVID-19 with job search, training and support services such as food assistance and connections to housing resources. Training and employment placement will focus on helping individuals obtain stable, living-wage employment in the region’s high-growth and in-demand sectors of technology, manufacturing and healthcare. 

WSW will also invest funds in Disaster Relief Employment support for the Boys and Girls Club, Clark County Food Bank, Goodwill of the Olympic and Rainier Region, Ethnic Support Council, Council for the Homeless and Bridgeview Resource Center. This funding is intended to enable these organizations to temporarily expand capacity to serve laid off workers. 

The third grant will provide those affected by opioid use and addiction with employment and training services and mentoring. 

“With more than 21,000 Southwest Washington residents filing continuing unemployment claims, the need in our community is great,” said Kevin Perkey CEO of Workforce Southwest Washington. “We’re investing in short-term job-readiness training to get laid-off workers back to work quickly and longer-term training to help people get the skills they need to secure good-paying jobs as the economy recovers.” 

The local WorkSource centers in Vancouver and Kelso are providing job and employment assistance virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and can be reached by phone, email and video conference. The $2,256,173 in grants will provide services from September 2020 through March 2022.

Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), a nonprofit organization, funds community prosperity by investing in services that help individuals gain skills to obtain good-paying jobs or advance in their careers and help companies attract, train and retain workers. Our investments strengthen the region’s businesses and contribute to a strong economy. Since 2003, we’ve invested more than $100 million in Southwest Washington. WSW is the Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) designated by federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation to oversee the public workforce system in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. Learn more at

WorkSource is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides an array of employment and training services to job seekers in Washington State. Customers access services electronically through or through a network of more than 60 WorkSource centers, affiliates and connection sites. While the local WorkSource centers in Kelso and Vancouver are not accepting in-person visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services are available virtually including job search support, funding for job retraining, workshops and classes, connections to housing, childcare, transportation, food assistance and other support services. View information about the Southwest Washington WorkSource centers and local job openings at

Joanna Yorke-Payne
Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start

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