Grays Harbor College awarded nearly $200,000 in federal COVID relief money

Grays Harbor College was awarded just shy of $200,000 in federal CARES Act coronavirus relief funding through the state board of community and technical colleges last week.

The board awarded nearly $5 million to community and technical colleges across the state as they work to restore workforce-related programs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The one-time grants come from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds provided by the CARES Act.

“There’s no question the pandemic has impacted our students and our colleges. Faculty and staff continue to look for innovative ways to teach our students, and these GEER grants will go a long way in that effort,” said Jan Yoshiwara, executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. “These are the programs that will help get Washington state’s economy back on track. We thank Gov. Inslee for awarding the college system this funding.”

According to the board, 48% of the community and technical college system’s approximately 337,000 students were enrolled in workforce programs in the 2019-20 school year, which were significantly disrupted in spring quarter by the COVID-19 pandemic. Workforce programs require a hands-on component, so measures like physical distancing and lab and classroom capacity impacted the number of students who could participate at any one time.

The GEER grant is intended to help colleges as they find new and different ways to provide instruction so students can complete their programs and enter the job market with the skills required in the modern economy.

In addition to Grays Harbor College’s $197,700, 31 schools got up to $200,000 each of the $5 million, including Olympic College, South Puget Sound Community College, Clark College, Centralia College, and Olympic College.