Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $777,381)
Washington State is expected to be hit hard by the “Silver Tsunami” with a shortage of workers across many fields over the next few years. A lot of workers are in their mid-to-late 50s and early 60s and when they retire, there will be no one in the pipeline to replace them. As a result, workers with entry level skills are forecasted to be in high demand in the construction and manufacturing industries for the foreseeable future. Graduates of pre-apprenticeship programs in the Construction and Manufacturing industries should be well positioned to take advantage of the projected job opportunities. Current estimated job growth rates in manufacturing in WA state is 0.69% annually for 2021-2023 and 0.35% annually for 2023-2028. If this is coupled with 5-10% of the workforce retiring, there is a great demand for Construction and Manufacturing workers. Nationwide, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled by 2025, but a lack of skilled workers means two million of them will go unfilled without some radical changes.
Washington State Department of Corrections (WADOC) proposes to expand the current pre-apprenticeship programs to include a manufacturing component. This program will hire a pre-apprenticeship coordinator to better transition incarcerated individuals into reentry with improved job readiness from prison to employment. Partner support will be offered to reentrants to afford needed supplies to enter trades fields. This program will prioritize students who are closest to release (preferably within 12 months of release), with greater risk to recidivate and highest needs in the areas of employment and education. In addition, students will be selected based on release to the identified high poverty areas within the Puget Sound Region.
By expanding WADOC's pre-apprenticeship programs, it not only trains additional incarcerated individuals in the skilled trades, but also gives them opportunities to get higher paying jobs where there is a genuine need within Washington State. DOC’s pre-apprenticeship programs are already successful, and this grant will further impact incarcerated individuals and the skilled labor industry.