Centralia Coal Transition Board Supports Pre-employment Training Services for Youth in Lewis County

Centralia, Wash. The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board is pleased to announce it has approved a grant award in the amount of $7,700.00 to the Morningside organization. The grant will be used to support the Lewis County Pre-employment Training Services program which offers youth ages 14-21 who utilize Individual Education Plans or 504 Plan services to complete work readiness activities, work-based learning activities, as well as paid internships.   

The Pre-employment Training Services is a new program that began in January 2021. In partnership with school districts and the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation the program is designed to help students with disabilities that are not being served by other programs. The program currently serves high school students in Pe Ell, Onalaska, Morton, Randle, Napavine, Chehalis and Centralia and is designed to accommodate each individual students’ needs and abilities and to progress at their own speed based on their interests.

Morningside’s mission is to provide the training, coaching, and employment services that build the self-sufficiency and self-esteem of people with disabilities; to transform lives for people with disabilities by removing significant barriers to employment and providing an infrastructure of personalized support. Since 1963, Morningside has been helping change the lives of individuals with significant disabilities by matching their skill and interest in jobs in the community. They now operate in six counties in Western Washington (Thurston, Mason, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Lewis, and Pierce.)

The Economic & Community Development Board was formed as a result of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington to transition the Centralia Plant away from coal-fired operations with one unit retiring at the end of 2020 and the second unit at the end of 2025. The company is investing $55 million into Lewis and South Thurston Counties and the state of Washington through the Coal Transition Boards.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:
Annual payments for the funding boards began in 2012 with the last payment due December 31, 2023. 
Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.