Job-seekers in the area will be getting more help to get back in the workforce during the next three years.

Workforce boards in the Portland-metro area, including Southwest Washington, reported today, Oct. 15, an $8.45 million three-year grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant aims to provide job training and career counseling services to 850 long-term unemployed and 150 veterans. The Ready to Work grants total $169.8 million in 23 grants across the country.

Bridget Dazey, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Clackamas County (WICCO), said long-term unemployment can have significant detrimental effects on a community and the intensive support offered through their programs would work on building self-confidence and breaking bad habits.

“The long-term unemployed have developed some patterns in the way that they look for work,” Dazey said. “What we’re hoping to do is break those sort of patterns.”

Each of the workforce boards — The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC) covering Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiankum counties, Worksystems, Inc. covering Multnomah and Washington counties, and WICCO — will funnel the money to local employers and training programs. Job-seekers could also receive help in terms of health care, child care or other support services aimed at finding them a job.

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