A $201,278.00 Job Skills Program (JSP) Grant, secured by Peninsula College, will allow local employer McKinley Paper to reduce the time needed to upskill entry-level employees and decrease turnover rates at their Port Angeles mill on Ediz Hook.
The employee training, which will be provided by non-profit Impact Washington, will increase the skills of McKinley’s existing workforce, according to Peninsula College’s Associate Dean for Workforce Programs, Brian Kneidl, who applied for the grant.
“The college is proud to work closely with McKinley to identify their needs and provide education to their workforce,” Kneidl said. This is the second JSP grant that he has sought and been awarded on behalf of the mill.
“In March of 2019 McKinley Paper employed 24 people. Now we have over 200 employees due to assistance from Impact Washington and Peninsula College,” Peter Johnson, human resources manager for McKinley Paper said.
McKinley Paper bought the mill site from Nippon USA in 2017. At that time, all but a handful of the employees were laid off, and approximately 30 former employees entered the Worker Retraining Program at Peninsula College. When McKinley purchased the mill, Kneidl applied for a JSP grant that helped the mill set training for new employees when they resumed production.
“We offer high-paying, union-based jobs in our community,” Johnson said. “We enjoy working with Brian and look forward to continuing our work together in the future.”
Kneidl said that he enjoys the JSP grant process and hopes to cultivate partnership interest from other employers in the area.
Worker Retraining is a state-funded program that provides job-related training and employment services to dislocated and unemployed workers to help them gain additional training in their existing field or get started on a new career path.