Gov. Gregoire, Employment Security announce $23 million in economic recovery grants - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gov. Gregoire, Employment Security announce $23 million in economic recovery grants

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire and Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee announced Tuesday that $23 million in federal stimulus grants are being distributed throughout Washington to pay for summer employment and training programs for at-risk youths and young adults.


Washington state is administering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability. Gregoire created a new Web site, www.recovery.wa.gov, so every Washingtonian can see where tax dollars are going and hold government accountable for the results. Visit the main American Recovery and Reinvestment Act here: http://www.recovery.gov/.

"It's especially hard to find a job right now if you are a teen or young adult who dropped out of school and has few work skills," Gregoire said. "This funding will boost local programs that guide our young people onto successful paths and away from a life of poverty."

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized additional funding for local employment and training programs sponsored through the federal Workforce Investment Act.  Summer youth programs must provide participants with work experience. They may include classroom training and other services to help participants improve their work qualifications.

To be eligible for the summer youth program, participants must be between the ages of 16 to 24 (the age range previously was capped at 21) and low-income. Services are focused on youths who are most in need, including those who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out, youths who are in foster care, homeless, runaway, disabled, or those whose parents are incarcerated. Military veterans and their spouses who meet the age and income criteria also may participate and will receive priority service.

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"These programs help teens use their summertime productively, and they help all of the participants build valuable skills that will give them a leg up now and throughout their lives," Lee said.

The Employment Security Department will apportion the money among the state's 12 workforce development councils based on a federal formula linked to local poverty and unemployment rates.

The services themselves are obtained or arranged through local WorkSource offices. Locations are printed the blue pages of telephone books or online at: www.Go2WorkSource.com

The amount of each local grant is as follows for these workforce development areas:

  • Olympic (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap counties), $890,834
  • Pacific Mountain (Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Thurston counties), $1.7 million
  • Northwest (Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom counties), $1.2 million
  • Snohomish County, $1.5 million
  • Seattle-King County, $3.4 million
  • Tacoma-Pierce, $2.5 million
  • Southwest Washington (Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum counties), $2.1 million
  • North-Central Washington (Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan counties), $1.2 million
  • South-Central Washington (Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, Yakima counties), $1.7 million
  • Eastern Washington (Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman counties), $949,534
  • Benton-Franklin, $884,221
  • Spokane County, $1.7 million

State lawmakers roll out spending cuts

In the second draft of state budget cuts, House lawmakers want to cut less from K-12 schools, and more from higher education, but they'd also ask college students to pay more tuition.

Tuesday's House budget plan would use a $3 billion influx of federal bailout money, and other one-time fixes to help plug a roughly $9 billion budget deficit through mid-2011.

That's similar to the way Senate Democrats would start filling the shortfall. But the two sides differ on exactly where to cut spending, and how much.

House officials are pushing for a deeper cut in higher education spending, and a bigger tuition increase to soften the blow.

The House also would cut less from K-12 education, and spend more money on state worker benefits.

Wash. Senate budget proposal unveiled

Senate Democrats would drastically cut education spending and eliminate some tax breaks to balance a $9.3 billion budget deficit.

VIEW: Entire budget propsal
The Senate's budget proposal is being unveiled Monday in Olympia. It lays out a $33.2 billion budget for the 2009-2011 fiscal year. That's about $1 billion less than the last budget. Public schools are taking a big hit, with a cut of about $1.3 billion. That doesn't count the money being saved by skipping teachers' pay raises.

Proposed Cuts

- 8,000 state employees
-10,000 college enrollments
-45,000 people in low-income health insurance
- Close a McNeil Island prison and the Green Hill juvenile prison in Chehalis.
- There would be no salary increases for teachers

Higher education and human services also would be cut, but the Senate also wants to close some tax loopholes, which could set up a conflict with voter-approved tax limits.

Among the loopholes are one for banks selling foreclosed homes, and one for people who buy hybrid cars.

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