Workforce Funding

For students seeking job training through one of CC's workforce education programs, there are a number of programs that may pay for that training and other related expenses, including books and fees, supplies, transportation, and child care.

Start Next QuarterAre you eligible?

Start Next Quarter is a simple, online survey that can pre-qualify you for college funding.

This brief, anonymous survey lets you know if you qualify for Worker Retraining or Basic Food Employment & Training funds, or an Opportunity Grant.

Funding Programs

Centralia College participates in several programs for students seeking job training following job loss or layoff, life change, or economic hardship. 

Each program has different requirements and is able to fund different things.

How to Apply

Download the Workforce Funding Application (pdf) to your desktop, fill out the required fields, print, and bring it to the Workforce Funding Office (Transitional Services Building, Room 101, corner of Rock Street and Centralia College Boulevard) or email You will be considered for all of the programs listed below.

The Worker Retraining Program may be able to help you retrain for a new job or career in a professional/technical program.

Are you collecting unemployment? Are you working in a job that is “not in demand”? Are you a veteran?


You may be eligible for Worker Retraining support due to any of the following reasons:

  • Eligible to receive, or receiving, unemployment benefits.
  • Received unemployment benefits within the past four years.
  • Formerly self-employed and currently unemployed due to general economic conditions within the past four years.
  • Unemployed Veteran discharged within the past four years.
  • Unemployed or under employed after having been dependent on another family member’s income, but no longer supported by that income due to separation, divorce, death, or permanent disability of the main wage-earner within the past four years.
  • Active Duty Military, with separation papers up to 18 months in the future
  • Vulnerable Worker? Meet two of three criteria listed below.
    • Currently working in a Not in Demand job.
    • Do not have 45 college credits.
    • Must upgrade your skills to remain employed in your current job.


  • Tuition assistance, books, and fees
  • Child care
  • Tools
  • Educational advising and planning
  • Job search assistance
  • Assistance in locating additional funding for training
  • Liaison to other agencies, programs and fund sources
  • Assistance with Employment Security Department’s Commissioner Approved Training (CAT) and Training Benefits (TB) applications
  • May assist with basic skills, as in earning your GED or HS21 while simultaneously enrolled in a program of study

Getting Started

  1. Complete a quick Start Next Quarter survey to see if you pre-qualify or attend a weekly Worker Retraining workshop to find out which programs you are currently eligible to enroll in.
  2. Schedule a one-on-one appointment with staff.
  3. Complete a federal financial aid application - FAFSA (required).



Joanie Meister
Transitional Services Building, Room 101
Email Joanie Meister

The BFET program is a partnership between Centralia College and the Department of Social Health Services (DSHS). Eligible individuals must currently be receiving or are qualified to receive basic food assistance. The BFET program assists with education and skills training.

On a fund available basis the BFET program assists food stamp eligible students with tuition and/or book assistance and may assist with childcare referrals with Working Connections (DSHS).

Eligibility Guidelines

  • You must be currently receiving DSHS Basic Food Assistance (federal)
  • You cannot be receiving DSHS TANF cash assistance (see WorkFirst for more information about funding for education)
  • You must be enrolled in a professional/technical program or in ESL, ABE, or GED program courses (transfer programs are not eligible)

Types of Assistance

  • Tuition and fees
  • Textbooks
  • Testing fees
  • May assist with some required class supplies

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.


Brooke Merchant
Transitional Services Building, Room 101
Email Brooke Merchant
Margaret Friedley
Transitional Services Building, Room 101
Email Margret Friedley

The WorkFirst program may provide support and financial assistance to students receiving a Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) grant from DSHS. Students must be referred by their DSHS case manager.

Approved programs include:

  • High School Diploma
  • GED
  • Basic Skills
  • English Language Acquisition (ELA)
  • All professional-technical programs
  • Continuing Education courses that are job-related

To get started contact your DSHS case manager or the WorkFirst office at Centralia College (TSB 101).


Margaret Friedley
Transitional Services Building, Room 101
Email Margret Friedley
Michelle Aguirre
Transitional Services Building, Room 101
Email Michelle Aguirre


WorkFirst Financial Aid

Eligible students may qualify for financial assistance towards tuition, fees and books (contingent on the availability of funding).

To apply for federal financial aid, submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

WorkFirst Work Study

WorkFirst work study provides employment opportunities while attending school and may be available to eligible WorkFirst students (contingent upon funding).  Positions are available on and off campus and, whenever possible, should be related to the student’s area of study.


Lisa Welch
Transitional Services Building, Room 101
Email Lisa Welch

The Opportunity Grant program is intended to assist low-income students enroll in college for training in high-wage, high-demand career pathways.  All pathways approved under the Opportunity Grant program provide a minimum beginning wage of $13.00 per hour.  Students who qualify for the Opportunity Grant program may be eligible to receive assistance with tuition, fees, books, and some supplies.  The grant may pay for up to a total of 45 credits over a period of three years.

General Eligibility Guidelines

In order to qualify for an Opportunity Grant, students must be pursuing an approved pathway, be a Washington State resident, meet the income guidelines, have a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) filed that establishes financial need, and provide a letter of recommendation at time of intake.

Approved Pathways

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Behavioral Healthcare
  • Pre-Nursing
  • Accounting
  • Business Office Careers
  • Corrections/Criminal Justice
  • Diesel Technology
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Electronics
  • Energy Technology
  • Medical Careers
  • Welding

Income Guidelines for 2023-24

Listed below are the income guidelines to be used for the Opportunity Grant for the 2023-24 academic year effective March. These are calculated at 200 percent of the federal poverty levels.

Size of Family Unit Annual Gross Income Cut-off Amounts Monthly Gross Income Cut-off Amounts
1 $29,160 $2,430
2 $39,440 $3,287
3 $49,720 $4,143
4 $60,000 $5,000
For each additional person, add $10,280 $857



Lisa Welch
Transitional Services Building, Room 101
Email Lisa Welch

Contact the Intake Center

Workforce Funding Info Center
Transitional Services Building, Room 101