Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced that the Department of Labor has awarded $3 million in National Worker Dislocated Grants to Oregon.
Bonamici advocated for these grants, which will support training and employment services for workers who have been displaced and dislocated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“A staggering number of Oregonians have filed unemployment claims in the last four weeks,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “During this time of tremendous economic turmoil, our workforce system provides crucial support. Early interventions now will help prevent further economic distress, help our economy recover, and increase access to good paying jobs for Oregonians who are suffering through this crisis. I’m pleased that Oregon is receiving this first installment of National Dislocated Worker Grants, but it is not enough to meet the scale of the crisis at hand. I will keep fighting for more federal resources to support reemployment, prevent layoffs, create opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, and provide employment services for displaced and dislocated workers.”
“These funds are essential to helping the Portland-metro region weather the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrew McGough, Executive Director of Worksystems. “We applaud the leadership of Congresswoman Bonamici and her tireless efforts to support workers and employers during these unprecedented times. Thank you!”
“The local boards in the State of Oregon are uniquely positioned to quickly deploy State and Federal funds directly into our local communities,” said Heather DeSart, Executive Director of the Northwest Oregon Works Board. “Now, more than ever before, our businesses and workers need these resources to help them survive this massive downturn.”
“This funding will support individuals and the economy in the Mid-Willamette Valley during these unprecedented and difficult times,” said Kim Parker-Llerenas, Executive Director of the Willamette Workforce Partnership Board. “The workforce system is poised and eager to distribute these funds to those who need it most.”
The National Dislocated Worker Grants can be used to support training and temporary employment for immediate needs in our response to COVID-19, such as: supporting health care workers; delivering medicine, food, and other supplies to vulnerable populations; and organizing and coordinating recovery efforts. Additional phases of National Dislocated Worker Grants will support workers in industries like hospitality, transportation, manufacturing, and retail, which are all facing massive layoffs. The Congresswoman has called for employers that receive these funds to maintain robust labor standards and high-quality jobs.
Bonamici helped secure $345 million for National Dislocated Worker Grants in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. She led 20 of her colleagues in calling on House Leadership to provide robust investments in workforce development programs authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, including National Dislocated Worker Grants.
Last week, Bonamici led 50 of her colleagues in calling for at least a $15.1 billion investment in workforce programs in the next COVID-19 response package. The Congresswoman has been a longtime champion of workforce development funding.