Job Skills Program helps train area workers
Yakima Valley College recently partnered with Yakama Forest Products (YFP) through the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges Job Skills Program (JSP). Awarded in the amount of $90,012, this partnership will enable Yakama Forest Products to provide necessary industry-specific training to its employees.
Over the next several months, training will be provided to about 375 workers in the Yakima Valley.
According to information on YFP’s website the Yakama people are traditionally taught that they come from the land and that they are part of the land. They have a multi-generational history tied to the land and surrounding environment and livelihoods are tied to these resources, and these values and the inherent respect the land commands are passed down from generation to generation.
Native American-owned forest and woodlands provide more than $40 million in annual Tribal governmental revenue and 19,000 jobs for families and communities according to the YFP website.
Beyond reacting to disasters such as wildfire in a positive way to reduce losses, YFP remains an economic tool for the Yakama Nation to provide meaningful and skilled jobs to Tribal members and families as well as an opportunity to care for the health of the forest lands of the Reservation.
Yakama Forest Products reached out to YVC and the SBCTC about starting a program to help improve their employees’ skills.
According to Maintenance Instructor Ken Broeke, YVC will provide training in welding, cutting, bearings, motors, blueprints and drawings that includes classroom work with real-world application — a combination he says is effective in bringing up students’ skill levels.
“Students are understanding the importance of how safety, quality and productivity relate so much on maintenance,” says Broeke. “They are learning what to look for when it comes to preventative maintenance PM’s and troubleshooting, to be able to fix problems before having to put out fires. To be able to prevent downtime and increase productivity. As we continue in this program, they will continue to build up their knowledge and understanding in the world of maintenance.”
The training dollars will be used to implement workforce development strategies supported by evidence, including an industry-driven curriculum and work-based learning.
JSP grants provide funding to licensed educational institutions in Washington and cover half of the training cost; partner employers provide a cash or in-kind match to fund the other half. Funds are awarded on a first-approved, rolling basis throughout the fiscal year. Training topics include leadership, teambuilding, coaching, conflict resolution, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.
Learn more about YVC’s WorkFirst programs.