US grant funds a new program

Media tech school expected to spur living-wage jobs

PORT ANGELES — A $1 million federal grant will go toward a collaboration between the Port Angeles Waterfront Center and Peninsula College to fund a new media technicians certificate program.

The program, funded by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), aims to develop skills that can be put to living-wage jobs on the North Olympic Peninsula, according to Steven Raider-Ginsburg, executive director of the Field Arts & Events Hall.

This EDA grant will be matched with $698,037 in donations raised by Field Hall. That money will go to ensuring all the equipment needed is funded, Raider-Ginsburg said.

The Media Tech and Stagehand Training School in Port Angeles is expected to create 175 jobs — part-time, full-time and seasonal — over the next decade, he said. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office estimated it would inspire some $7.7 million private investment.

“Field Hall will be able to hire those graduates for theater and the conference center,” Raider-Ginsburg said.

“It will also benefit 7 Cedars and Red Lion Hotel — any conference and event space, as well as festivals,” he added.

The program would be based at Field Hall at Oak and First streets in Port Angeles and accredited by Peninsula College.

“Field Hall in Port Angeles is destined to be the home of performing arts on the Olympic Peninsula,” Cantwell said in a press release.

“Establishing the media lab with Peninsula College ensures that the talents and skills needed to meet our highest standards will come from folks raised on the Peninsula.

“These will be great jobs right here in the community they love.”

Said Raider-Ginsburg: We don’t want to import talent from outside” the area. “The program is to develop local talent so people can get living-wage jobs here.

“Our aim is to train local talent in a new sector.”

Field Hall is expected to open in July 2023.

In December, Cantwell, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Derek Kilmer submitted a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in support of Field Hall’s grant application.

“Clallam County’s rural location and scenic wonders draw local, national and international visitors,” the lawmakers wrote. The Field Hall project, they continued, “is serving as the catalyst for a major economic revitalization in Port Angeles.”

This project is funded under the EDA’s $240 million competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program.

The funds are designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.

In 2021, the EDA awarded $510 million to all 50 states and territories.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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