Commerce awards grants for new skilled worker training programs in Spokane and Whatcom County

New programs inspired by Gov. Inslee’s Career Connected Washington initiative will provide professional credentials, certifications, apprenticeships in communities with job opportunities for skilled workers

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced two grants totaling $50,000 to help increase Washington’s skilled workforce and provide job opportunities in Spokane and Whatcom counties. The state funds are matched two-to-one by the grantees who will develop, promote and implement professional education and training programs to help meet specific needs for skilled workers in these communities.

Inland Northwest Association of General Contractors (AGC) was awarded $20,000 for construction apprenticeships. Whatcom Community College was awarded $30,000 for chemical dependency and medical assistant professional certification programs.

“This career-connected learning approach strengthens communities by helping address employer needs for skilled workers and providing people with education and training to qualify them for those existing and future job opportunities,” said Lisa Brown, state Commerce director.

The Washington Legislature began funding the Skilled Worker Awareness program in 2017. The goal is to target skills needed in the workforce and then provide education and training that results in industry- or state-recognized certificates, associate degrees, professional licenses or similar credentials. This is the second round of grants awarded by Commerce. To learn more about the Skilled Worker Awareness program, visit

Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, (206) 256-6106
Jaclyn Perez, Program Manager, (360) 725-4049

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