Individuals in the South Kelso and Highlands neighborhoods in Cowlitz County will soon have additional resources and services to help them move out of poverty. And local businesses could see an increase in the number of skilled workers available to fill their open jobs.

Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) secured $1.6 million from the Governor’s federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Statewide Activities fund to help individuals in the neighborhoods become employed, retain employment and increase their earnings.

WSW’s proposal was one of four in the State to be accepted for the Governor’s “Economic Security for All” (EcSA) poverty-reduction pilot.

The program aims to address three concerns: (1) residents say finding and keeping work is challenging due to travel expenses and limited childcare availability, (2) nearby companies report difficulty recruiting and retaining a local workforce, and (3) as their wages increase, individuals may fall over the “benefits cliff” and lose access to services such as childcare or housing, further impeding their ability to keep a job and continuing the cycle of poverty.

WSW is joined by Lower Columbia Community Action Partnership (LCCAP), Dept. Social & Health Services (DSHS), Lower Columbia College, City of Kelso, Kelso City Council Member Mike Karnofski, Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier, WorkSource, Kelso School District, Cowlitz Economic Development Council, Housing Opportunities of SW Washington, Love Overwhelming, Longview School District, Cowlitz Habitat for Humanity, Cowlitz County, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Ethnic Support Council, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG), RiverCities Transit, the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington and others working together on this project.

Read more at $1.M for workforce training coming to Kelso and Longview neighborhoods

Read the Governor’s announcement – Inslee announces $5.8 million in grants for local communities to improve lives of families facing poverty

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