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Meta bolsters C.O. workforce development with four grants totaling $250,000


To supplement state's new Future Ready Oregon program, boost youth career training

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Four Central Oregon entities — East Cascades Works, the Crook County School District, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Youth CareerConnect—are receiving grants totaling $250,000 from Meta to support youth workforce development and career skills training across Central Oregon.

The funding announced Friday bolsters the Central Oregon component of Future Ready Oregon, a new statewide workforce investment package, and aims to increase career training for priority populations in Central Oregon, including people of color, members of tribes and people in rural communities.

Approximately $3.8 million of the $200 million Future Ready Oregon initiative has been allocated to the East Cascades workforce area — which includes 10 counties east of the Cascades — as part of the initiative’s Prosperity 10,000 program, which will provide career coaching, occupational training, job placement services and more to at least 10,000 Oregonians.

With Meta’s support, that investment is now over $4 million. Registered apprenticeship programs, youth programs, and workforce readiness grants supported by Meta’s funding will prioritize construction, manufacturing and technology sectors.

“Meta is proud to be a part of Central Oregon since we broke ground on our Prineville Data Center in 2010, and we’re also a huge supporter of workforce development and STEM-related Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs,” said William Marks, community development manager at Meta. “We saw a unique opportunity to help increase the impact of Future Ready Oregon in Central Oregon and provide more work-based learning opportunities for underrepresented groups, and we’re thrilled to partner with East Cascades Works, Crook County School District, Confederated Tribes of Warms Springs and Youth CareerConnect for this program.” 

“We are so fortunate in Central Oregon to have Meta as a partner to help cultivate our homegrown talent pipeline. Young people will have more opportunities to explore and launch in their career pathway in Central Oregon, thanks to Meta’s generosity,” said Heather Ficht, executive director of East Cascades Works.

The specific funding allocation, administered by and through East Cascades Works, includes: 

  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs ($50,000) – Support for the expansion of their workforce and education programming around career exposure, work readiness training, skill building and advanced training opportunities. 
  • Crook County School District ($50,000) – Funding for a STEM and graphic design lab build-out, including materials and equipment, to ensure youth have access to relevant leading-edge technologies.
  • East Cascades Works ($100,000) – Support for emergent workforce and special populations—including English language learners, justice-impacted individuals and BILAPOC-identified individuals—through programs that help increase wages for those who are employed and/or career attachment for those not working, with a special focus on target industry careers in technology, construction, manufacturing and health care. 
  • Youth CareerConnect ($50,000) – Support for this Central Oregon internship program that focuses on retaining young talent and work readiness training for people ages 16 to 24.

“This generous donation from Meta helps equip Crook County students with the most up-to-date technology,” said Joel Hoff, assistant superintendent of the Crook County School District.Meta's continued support helps ensure that every Crook County student graduates college- and career-ready."

About East Cascades Works
East Cascades Works (EC Works) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization designated by the Governor of Oregon to convene, oversee and support the local workforce system. Headquartered in Bend, Ore., EC Works serves a 10-county area just east of the Cascades, including Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Sherman, Wasco, and Wheeler counties.

As the designated workforce development board, EC Works partners with businesses, government entities, community-based organizations, and educational institutions to support the talent needs of employers and to align investments in the career goals of individuals, to fuel a thriving economy.

Article Topic Follows: Crook County

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