WASHINGTON – Amid a sharp national increase in opioid overdoses, Washington state has also experienced significant increases in opioid-related drug overdose deaths, as deaths nearly doubled from 827 in 2019 to 1,619 in 2021. To help address the crisis, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $992,363 in grant funding to the state’s Department of Employment Security to assist those affected by the health and economic effects of widespread opioid use, addiction and overdose. Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant – with an approved funding threshold of more than $2.9 million – will serve communities in Spokane County by creating disaster-relief positions to address local workforce impacts of the opioid crisis. Funds will also support employment and training services for dislocated workers experiencing long-term unemployment and other workforce barriers resulting from the opioid crisis. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in October 2017, enabling Washington to request this funding. Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.
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