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Washington County to collaborate with Community Organizations on robust Workforce Development investments

Washington County awards contracts to nine community organizations to enhance local workforce development services.
Media release

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 11, 2022

Sponsored by: County Administrative Office

County partners with nine community organizations

Washington County is partnering with nine community-based organizations to advance services, trainings, and educational opportunities for local workers. The organizations selected are Centro Cultural of Washington County, IRCO, Muslim Educational Trust, Northwest Regional Education Service District, Portland Community College, Portland YouthBuilders, Urban League, Working Theory Farm and WorkSystems. Altogether this county investment, made possible by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, is aimed to serve hundreds of local workers over the next two years. 

“Partnerships like these are extremely important as we continue to promote our commitment for an equitable economic recovery for our community members,” said Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington. “We have to make sure we have a strong foundation and continue to explore community engagement so that we can meet community needs.” 

Workforce Development Program Goals: 

  • Provide employment training, career development, and wrap-around supports that connect residents to quality jobs for workers displaced by the pandemic and specifically focused on marginalized communities including—BIPOC, women, veterans, people with disabilities, low-income and rural residents. 

  • Strategically invest in local workforce partners to build and expand capacity in the local workforce development system. 

  • Create new opportunities for workers to enter or advance in their careers, including career exploration, career basics classes, retraining or “rapid training” programs, scholarships, etc. 

  • Develop industry-targeted training programs to address worker deficits in local industries that have either been adversely impacted by the pandemic or have dominant local industry clusters. 

Thoughtfully working with partners on continuity of investments 

Contracts have been awarded to these nine organizations that support multiple sectors including manufacturing, technology, healthcare, construction and building trades (pre-apprenticeships) among others. 

The awardees were selected as part of a solicitation process for organizations and educational institutions that desired interest in partnering with the County and guided by the Washington County Board of Commissioners. 

“With the added outreach support and investment from Washington County in our current programming, Portland YouthBuilders’ Bridge construction training program will serve low-income youth throughout Washington County while also creating a trained and motivated workforce for the construction industry,” said Portland YouthBuilders Development Director Tonia Kovtunovich.  

“This partnership with Washington County will enable Working Theory Farm to expand existing workforce development programming to serve some of the county's most underserved and marginalized youth over the next three years,” shares Working Theory Farm Program Manager Henney Sullivan.  

“PCC is happy to partner with Washington County to expand services for immigrants and refugees to increase their skills, build confidence and create a plan to reach their goals in a welcoming and supportive space,” adds Portland Community College Integration Manager DaNene Dwyer. “Our Opportunity Centers are a bridge connecting community members and employers. Together with our partners, we create opportunities for people to transform their lives through education and career track employment.” 

Using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars 

While these funds are responsive to near-term pandemic impacts, we are also taking this opportunity to work with these, and other local partners, to strategically plan for and build a more comprehensive and collaborative workforce development system in Washington County. 

To-date, Washington County has invested over $2.5 million of its federal funding to support the local workforce and for small business development. Recently, the County’s Economic Development program was recognized nationally for its continued commitment in advancing an equity-centered, data-driven recovery strategy.  

Washington County is receiving two allocations of $58 million that must be obligated by the end of 2024. The first phase of the County’s ARPA framework has included investments in surviving COVID-19, community stabilization and wellness, small business support, workforce development, community engagement, and continuity in government services. Washington County is currently planning for the second ARPA phase. The Board of County Commissioners will finalize the planning process in the summer and fall of 2022 and anticipates reviewing potential investment options throughout late-fall and winter 2022. For more information visit  for all updates related to ARPA.  

Media Contact:

Silvia Pereida, Public Affairs and Communications Coordinator
[email protected]