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TAP Accelerator: Phase 1 Upskill-Backfill Initiative Grants


The following seven projects have received $1.6 million in total grant awards:


Project Focus – Healthcare

Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council

(Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties)

This region has a high demand for healthcare services and workers. In rural parts of this region the focus will be on upskilling homecare workers to certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and backfilling with entry-level workers, with a focus on populations with barriers. In the region’s urban areas, the project will upskill CNAs to acute care CNAs. Together, the project will train 65 people, including: 40 CNAs; 23 lower-skilled long-term care workers (home care aides); and two home care aide community instructors. Partners: Centralia College, DSHS Aging and Long Term Support Administration (ALTSA), Morton General Hospital, South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Centralia College, Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Providence Mother Joseph Care Center, New Market Skills Center, Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA), and SEIU. Grant Amount: $275,000 (with $160,000 leveraged totaling $435,000)

Project Focus Building Engineers in the Construction Industry

Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County

The demand for building engineers is expected to increase 14 percent over the next 10 years in the greater Seattle area, according to Economic Modeling Specialists. An added challenge is an aging workforce at the Senior Building Engineer level. This project will upskill potential leaders, enabling them to operate  HVAC, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems in high-performance buildings and backfill with new employees. The project is intended to: engage 10 businesses; train 100 current workers (with 50 receiving wage increases); and bring 30 new hires into the newly opened positions. This works out to a net total of 30 new employees hired by participating businesses. Partners: Renton Technical College, Construction Center of Excellence, TRIO, NW Business Solutions Inc., ANEW, Emerald Cities Seattle, WBEC Steering Committee (Wright Runstad/Western WA Stationary Engineers), Association of General Contractors (AGC) Education, and Western Washington Stationary Engineers. Grant Amount: $226,855 (with $171,257 leveraged, totaling $398,112)

Project Focus – Construction Heavy/Highway

Workforce Central (Pierce County)

There is a significant need for foremen in this industry and demand is expected to grow. This project will upskill journey-level construction workers to foremen and backfill them with entry-level workers. The project is designed to: engage two businesses; train 20 existing workers for foreman responsibilities; hire 40 new jobseekers, with 25 coming from populations facing barriers. The new jobseekers will obtain one or more of the following: a high school credential, transition to postsecondary education, or an industry-recognized postsecondary certificate. Partners: Tucci & Sons, Lakeside Industries, Construction Center of Excellence, AGC Education Foundation, and International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). Grant Amount: $250,000 (with $149,000 leveraged totaling $308,663)

Project Focus – Aerospace Manufacturing

South Central Workforce Development Council

(Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania and Yakima Counties)

It is difficult to recruit new talent to this rural area that straddles the Washington-Oregon border in the Bingen, Wash./ Hood River, Ore., area along the Columbia Gorge. This project will upskill workers within partner companies and backfill with new employees, with a focus on populations facing barriers, including veterans, out- of-school youth, long-term unemployed, low income and older workers. The partner companies have committed to help grow the talent pipeline within the region. The project is designed to: engage five employers; provide upskill training for 95 current workers (with 86 receiving wage increases); and hire 67 jobseekers, with 32 coming from populations facing barriers to employment. Grant Amount: $250,000 (with $396,053 leveraged totaling $646,053)

Project Focus – Healthcare

Spokane Area Workforce Development Council

The healthcare and social assistance sector accounts for nearly one in every five jobs in Spokane County and as the population ages, demand is expected to increase. This project will upskill medical and nursing assistants to become registered nurses and backfill with new employees, with a focus on populations with barriers. During the course of this project, a cohort of 15 individuals will: complete courses for entry into an Associate in Nursing program; complete the first quarter in the Associate of Nursing program; and receive a promotion to nurse technician with wage increases. Participants will be supported by a: college navigator; study and tutoring lab; 3D software for study; tuition, books and fees; childcare, transportation, and emergency assistance. A total of 15 new hires are expected to backfill new openings. Grant Amount: $142,614 (with $169,856 leveraged totaling $312,470)

Project Focus -- Manufacturing

Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County

Skilled workers are in great demand from the manufacturing industry. Right now, the limited supply has employers poaching talent from one another in the region. This project will upskill manufacturing workers into leadership positions and backfill with entry-level workers, with a focus on populations with barriers including those with disabilities. The project is designed to: provide advanced training to 250 current workers (of which 175 will receive wage increases); bring in 100 new hires to the industry, with a net increase of 10 new employees in the participating businesses. Partners: Genie (Terex brand), Astonics AES and Spectralux, Everett Community College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Seattle Goodwill Industries, and Seattle Housing Authority. Grant Amount: $275,000 (with $248,900 leveraged totaling $523,900)

Project Focus – Healthcare

Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County

King County faces a growing need for healthcare workers. To help meet this demand, area employers would like to move promising talent from entry-level positons (customer service, food service, etc.) into medical assistant and certified nursing assistant (CNA) positions. This project will upskill patient service representatives to medical assistants and backfill with entry-level workers, with a focus on populations facing barriers, including refugees and immigrants. The project is designed to: engage two employers; train 20 current workers with wage increases; hire 20 new employees to replace the workers who have gained new positions; and grow the net number of employees by two FTEs (full-time equivalents). Partners: Neighborhood House, Kaiser Permanente WA, and Harborview Medical HMC. Grant Amount: $241,480 (with $163,170 leveraged totaling $404,650)


Staff contact: Patrick Woods, (360) 709-4622


Back to TAP Accelerator: Upskill Backfill Initiative main page






Upskill-Backfill Initiative Learning Lab--NEW!



Watch the video: Workforce Board Executive Director Eleni Papadakis provides a narrated PowerPoint overview on distributing these funds.


Technical Staff Support

Mike Brennan - (360) 709-4616

Wesley Nguyen - (360) 709-4641


The Workforce Board is committed to providing employees and the public, including individuals with disabilities, access to its information and services. For information regarding documents, handouts, other questions, or for people needing special accommodation, please contact Rebecca Reule at (360) 709-4640 or Rebecca.Reule@wtb.wa.gov.





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