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Jayapal Helps Secure $9.2 Million for Washington State’s Climate Resilience Workforce Development Efforts

SEATTLE – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal is announcing $9,257,231 for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (WSBCTC) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Ready Workforce Competition grant program for the Tribal Stewards: Cultivating Tribal Leadership & Equity in Natural Resource Stewardship and Climate Resilience project. This funding will help to implement the Tribal Stewards initiative, which will train both Tribal and non-Tribal graduates to contribute to co-stewardship, collaboration, and climate resilience efforts that serve Tribal communities.

“Climate change has disproportionately impacted the resilience, cultural practices, and health of Indigenous communities throughout Washington State,” said Jayapal. “Additionally, historical barriers stemming from the legacy of colonialism have created alarming disparities in education and career advancement. I am so proud to have supported this project, which creates a holistic and intersectional approach to addressing climate change, and tailors career guidance and academic support to focus on environmental justice efforts that center Tribal communities.”

“We deeply appreciate Congresswoman Jayapal’s support of Washington state’s grant application,” said Paul Francis, Executive Director of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. “With this grant, our community and technical college system will be able to integrate Tribal environmental knowledge into college workforce programs to train people for well-paying jobs in the green economy and support climate resiliency in Tribal communities and across Washington state.”

This funding will help the Tribal Stewards initiative build a workforce of Tribal leaders to integrate traditional ecological knowledge, science, and cultural practices to increase Tribal communities’ resilience to climate change. The program will train 62 faculty and 10 Tribal student support professionals, redesign 10 natural resources programs, and train 2,130 students across six colleges in the WSBCTC system. It will also establish education pathways and workforce development initiatives that prioritize place-based employment as well as Tribal values, knowledge, and leadership.

The Climate-Ready Workforce initiative focuses on preparing and placing people in jobs that will advance climate resilience nationwide, ensuring coastal communities are prepared for the worst impacts of climate change. The program will also assist employers in developing a 21st-century workforce that is climate literate and skilled at addressing climate challenges. This initiative was established by the Inflation Reduction Act, which Jayapal proudly supported.

Jayapal’s full letter in support of this funding can be read here.

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