900 JBLM service members eligible for Labor grant

December 18, 2013 

About 900 Joint Base Lewis-McChord service members will get help with job training and other assistance to ease their transition to civilian life through a grant announced this week by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The funding, which will start at $2.9 million and could go as high as $5.6 million, will be awarded to the Pacific Mountain Workforce Consortium, based in Thurston County. Local military personnel will be given help with case management, support services and training so they can take the skills they already have and apply them in the civilian workforce.

National Emergency Grants are part of the discretionary fund of U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. They are distributed to states where economic circumstances — in this case, the downsizing of the armed forces — have caused significant job losses.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, called the grant “a shining example of what happens when we establish strong partnerships between the public and private sector in order to support our nation’s heroes.

“For too long,” Murray said in a statement, “we’ve been patting our veterans on the back to thank them for their service and sending them out into the job market alone without the basic help they need.”

In Washington each year, about 13,000 service men and women make plans to leave the military, and

more than half of them make that transition through Lewis-McChord, according to Murray’s office.

The new money will assist them from one year before and up to six months after they leave the uniformed service.

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