Sept 29, 2014 (Centralia WA): Executive Directors of the Center of Excellence for Clean Energy and Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing attended an event hosted by Vice President Joe Bidden at the White House today announcing the award winners of the final round of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants.

Vice President Joe Biden was joined by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during the announcement. Two hundred seventy community colleges will receive $450 million to expand job-driven training partnerships between community colleges and employers as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grantees will partner with 400 employers. (see attached press release from the White House)

“We are thrilled to report that we are a recipient,” Barbara Hins-Turner, Executive Director of the Center of Excellence for Clean Energy, said. “This project is culmination of a multi-year effort to coordinate the public workforce system to support sustainable development in our most critical industries: Clean Energy, Construction and Advanced Manufacturing.”

The nearly $10 million project, entitled Washington Integrated Sector Employment (WISE), is a statewide initiative that will reach 1,992 adults including veterans. WISE brings together the clean energy, construction, and advanced manufacturing sectors to create a cluster that will prepare participants for employment in entry level, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship occupations. It will address the unique needs of unemployed, or under-employed dislocated workers, using innovative and sophisticated strategies.

WISE will be led by three Centers of Excellence (Clean Energy, Construction and Aerospace Advance Manufacturing) and includes eight community and technical colleges, five workforce investment boards, the state’s TAA coordinating agency, the Washington State Labor Council and a dozen major employers.

“Washington’s Centers of Excellence are uniquely positioned as economic development drivers in industries that help the state’s economy grow,” Mary Kaye Bredeson, Executive Director of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing, said. “These centers align with the Governor’s sector strategy for energy, construction and advanced manufacturing.”

The Centers have demonstrated excellence in industry engagement with employers within each sector such as Avista, Royelle Manufacturing, Pacific Tool, Tacoma Power, Puget Sound Energy, Spokane Homebuilders Association and others.

WISE will establish a focused process for assessing the prior work experience, skills and interests of qualified participants (dislocated workers, veterans and spouses, women and minorities) to leverage pre-existing qualifications, identify effective program options and levels, and position participants to achieve efficient, positive training outcomes and career success. Its strategies include using the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), developing new training, and career navigating.

Link to the WISE page