Centralia Coal Transition Economic & Community Development Board supports New Market Skills Center Foundation Scholarship Program

Centralia, (April 5, 2018) The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board (“ECD Board”) is pleased to announce it has approved a grant to the New Market Skills Center Foundation for student scholarships. The scholarships will help to support students from the Lewis and South Thurston County areas who plan to attend trade school, vocational programs or apprenticeship trade programs.The board approved a grant in the amount of $30,000.00 which will fund annual scholarships in the amount of $3,000.00 over a 10-year period. The focus of the scholarship will be for students entering a vocational training program at Centralia College, South Puget Sound Community College, and trade or apprenticeship programs for construction, welding, electrical or business management. The scholarship awards will begin in 2018.

The ECD 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 shutting down in December 2020 and the second unit in December 2025.

“We are pleased to support scholarship opportunities for the New Market Skills Center” says Marc Read, ECD Board Member. “Providing scholarship funds through the foundation is a great way to support young adults in our community and is a key component of the Centralia Coal Transition Economic & Community Development Board mission.”

The New Market Skills Center Foundation was formed in 2010 to raise funds to enable the New Market Skills Center to continue the tradition of providing resources for students attending vocational, trade schools, apprenticeship or academic oriented programs upon graduation from the Skills Center. New Market Skills Center opened in 1986 as an educational venture between local school districts and is a public school offering technical training for high school students.  New Market is a consortium of 10 districts including, Centralia, North Thurston, Oakville, Olympia, Rainier, Rochester, Shelton, Tenino, Tumwater, and Yelm.  

“The funding from the coal transition board for the New Market Skills Center Scholarship program will be a great help to students from Lewis and South Thurston County”, said Ronald Crawford, President New Market Skills Center Foundation.” The board thanks the coal transition board members for approving this valuable program for New Market Students and we look forward to being able to carry out this program.”

Overview of the Funding Boards

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made for the past six years with the last payment due Dec. 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

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.