The Northwest Workforce Council, which serves Skagit, Whatcom, Island and San Juan counties, is one of five Washington state organizations participating in the Opportunity Internship Program.
The program helps students gain internship and pre-apprenticeship experience and also provides career guidance and assistance in filling out college financial aid forms, including the FAFSA.
This spring and summer, 250 students are receiving work experience through the program, which began in 2009.
“Low-income students face tough challenges, but reap enormous benefits when they get that first job,” Eleni Papadakis, executive director of the state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, said in an April 12 press release. “Work experience is critical for young people, not only to prepare for the next job, but to learn about meeting workplace expectations, discover their talents and further their education to reach career goals they now view as possible.”
Each student will receive at least 90 hours in an internship or pre-apprenticeship.
Students who enroll in an eligible training or education program within a year of graduating high school may be eligible for the State Need Grant program.
The program targets high-demand occupations with a starting wage of $30,000 or more annually.
The board is administering the $500,000 project through a contract with the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Other participating organizations include the Olympic Workforce Development Council, serving Kitsap, Clallam and Jefferson counties; REACH Tacoma, a nonprofit youth-oriented community organization, Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, serving Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum counties; and the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council.
More information on the program is online at at http://www.wtb.wa.gov/OpportunityInternship.asp