E-News Edition 133

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State continues advancing justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and people


Surrounded by tribal leaders and advocates, Gov. Jay Inslee signs HB 1725 on March 31 to establish a statewide alert system for missing Native American women and people. (Governor's Office Photo)

Attorney General Bob Ferguson held a press conference Monday to review the progress of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force (MMIW/P). The task force recently completed its first report and delivered ten recommendations to enhance statewide efforts to protect Native American women and people. 

“When my sister Daisy Mae Heath went missing back in September of 1987, I felt like I was very alone,” said Patsy Whitefoot, a member of the task force. “By being with the task force for the short period we’ve been working together, I’ve opened my eyes to what’s involved in these reports.” 

“As a family member to someone missing, I’ve made it a point to have a voice in support of my sister and my family members who have been murdered,” Whitefoot continued. 

Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 1725, sponsored by Rep. Deb Lekanoff, on March 31, making Washington the first state to establish a statewide alert system for missing Indigenous women and people. The Washington State Patrol launched the new Missing Indigenous Person Alert (MIPA) system on July 1. A MIPA alert has since led to at least one person being found safe. 30 other Native American missing persons have been found by authorities in July alone. 135 other Native American persons remain unaccounted for, according to WSP. 

Washington state wins $23.5 million federal workforce training grant


Gov. Jay Inslee launched Career Connect Washington in 2017. At the Governor’s Summit on Career Connected Learning in Redmond in May 2017, Inslee met with Learning Lab participants from Nespelem Valley Electric Co-Op.

A proposal by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), in collaboration with Career Connect Washington, was selected to receive a $23.5 million dollar Good Jobs Challenge grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The WSAC proposal was one of 32 selected projects among 509 applications. The Good Jobs Challenge grant will help CCW and its partners immediately serve 5,000 workers whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19 and fill a minimum of 3,000 jobs.

Career Connect Washington will focus the grant funds to connect students to work-based learning programs in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, construction, energy and clean technology, financial services, health care, and information technology. Career Connect will partner with more than 200 community-based organizations that work with people often furthest from opportunities including workers with disabilities, workers in rural areas, and workers of color.

“Across every sector of the state’s economy, employers need to find talent, particularly in high-demand fields, and the Good Jobs Challenge grant will noticeably strengthen our ongoing efforts through Career Connect,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This will support our progress on inclusivity and equity in the workforce, giving Washingtonians from underrepresented communities a pathway to thousands of great jobs, putting those furthest from opportunity into good jobs and helping Washington’s economy continue its strong recovery.”

Read more about how the grant will support the state’s workforce training efforts. Students or employers who are interested in the Career Launch program can visit careerconnectwa.org for information.

Honoring Veterans: Sunday is Purple Heart Day


The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) will honor Purple Heart Day this Sunday at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake. WDVA will fly a purple heart flag in honor of the generations of service members injured or killed while serving the United States of America.

On July 12, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation to acknowledge the occasion.

“I urge all people in our state to join me in acknowledging and honoring this state's veterans who have been wounded in battle while defending the principles of democracy, individual freedom, and human rights,” said Inslee.

The day comes less than a week after the U.S. Senate passed the PACT Act, which will help expand benefits for thousands of veterans in Washington state. Once signed by President Biden, the PACT Act will expand Veterans Administration health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. The bill includes provisions and funding sought by Sen. Patty Murray for a new Veterans Administration clinic in the Tri-Cities area.

This includes the more than 354,000 veterans in Washington state who served during the Vietnam War, Gulf War, and post 9/11 eras. It also adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures.

To find out more about the PACT Act and VA benefits, visit The PACT Act And Your VA Benefits | Veterans Affairs.

To contact the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs, visit www.dva.wa.gov, email benefits@dva.wa.gov, or call 1-800-562-2308.

Small business & nonprofit grants available through pandemic relief funds


Another round of state pandemic relief grants is on the way, with a focus on - but not limited to - the arts, heritage and science sectors, and businesses relying on Washington Convention Center events, such as theaters and live entertainment venues. 

Applications for the Working Washington Grants: Round 5 and new Convention Center Grants programs open Wednesday Aug. 17. Together, these programs will distribute $75 million in pandemic relief grants to eligible small businesses and nonprofits across Washington.

The online commercegrants.com portal has guidelines and information to help applicants get ready to submit applications.