Workforce Southwest Washington August Newsletter


August 2017

A Message from the CEO

Welcome to our summer newsletter which will bring you up to date on happenings within Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) and the public workforce system.

WSW and our partners continually interact with businesses to understand their training and hiring needs. Because of this collaboration, WSW recently released workforce development plans to assist the technology and construction industries to achieve their workforce goals. Read more below, download the plans, and please reach out to WSW’s Industry Initiatives Managers for assistance with your workforce needs.

A variety of events will occur in the coming months for companies as well as for job seekers. Please save the dates on your calendar, share the information with your network and join us.

In June's newsletter, we highlighted an innovative industrial training program developed by our partner Goodwill in Longview in collaboration with NW Motor Service. This exciting program garnered an article in The Daily News and the story has since gained national attention when it was republished by U.S. News & World Report. Congratulations to Goodwill and NW Motor Service for their shining example of what public-private workforce partnerships can achieve!

Jeanne Bennett, CEO, Workforce Southwest Washington


Southwest Washington Tech Industry Thought Leaders Wanted!

On August 29, WSW and the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) will host a Tech Thought Leaders Focus Group breakfast to discuss the Launchcode Tech Apprenticeship model.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Cass Parker at 360.567.1076 or


Plan Launched to Help Tech Companies Meet Workforce Needs

The 2017-2019 Tech Talent Strategy Plan was launched in June, the result of several months of work with tech industry leaders and partners to understand the skills gaps and opportunities available in the tech industry.

The plan outlines workforce development goals for the region and focuses on three areas:

People: Attract and cultivate more local, under-represented candidates to increase numbers and levels of diversity
Access: Develop tools and resources to increase access to information and training to help under-represented populations pursue careers in tech
Jobs: Develop and share working models to increase hiring, retention and advancement of women and people of color.

Strategy work has already begun in each of the goal areas. Review the plan here.

Contact Cass Parker at 360.567.1076 or for more information.


Funds Available for Manufacturers to Train Current Employees in Mechatronics

Starting this fall, manufacturers will have a new resource to grow and improve the skills of their technicians – Clark College’s Rural Access Mechatronics Program (RAMP) – which will train technicians in as little as six months through online classes and Saturday labs.

The condensed program was developed to provide manufacturers the ability to quickly improve the skills of existing employees so they can move up in the company and, thus, open entry-level positions for new hires.

Mechatronics technicians troubleshoot, maintain and repair mechanical equipment controlled by electrical, electronic and computer systems in manufacturing, technology and other fields.

Manufacturers interested in learning about potential funding to train existing employees or hire new employees can contact Darcy Hoffman at WorkSource or 360.735.5038.


Online & Saturday Training Program Provides Skills Sought by Manufacturers & Others

Companies are seeking candidates with mechatronics skills. A new six-month training program offered by Clark College that can be completed online and with Saturday labs provides individuals the skills to get started in this fast-growing field.

Mechatronics involves mechanics, electronics, pneumatics and computer technology. Mechatronics technicians troubleshoot, maintain and repair mechanical equipment controlled by electrical, electronic and computer systems in utilities, manufacturing, technology and other fields.

Free information sessions are being scheduled for later this month and classes will begin in September. Contact WorkSource Career Coach Jacob Miller at or 360.735.5084 to learn more. Scholarships and financial aid are available.

To learn more about RAMP (Rural Access Mechatronics Program), visit

The program is made possible by grant NSF-ATE #1565577 from the National Science Foundation.


Sept. 14 Breakfast will Help Companies Learn to Connect with and Hire Young Adults

Companies that participated in the Youth Employment Summit in May and those interested in learning about the upcoming 2018 event, are invited to attend a free breakfast on Thursday, September 14 from 8-9:30 a.m. in the Pacific Continental Bank Community Room, Hudson Building, 101 E 6th Street, Suite 100, Vancouver 98660.

During the event, the group will share expertise about hiring young adults and ideas on how companies can begin this effort to ensure a future workforce pipeline for their business.

To RSVP or learn more, contact Youth Initiatives Manager Miriam Martin at or 360.567.3183.


Construction Workforce Plan Released

The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative launched the region's Construction Workforce Plan in July.

Development of the plan was a collaboration between contractors, industry experts, union representatives, workforce development and training providers.

The plan focuses on three priority areas:

Connect youth to jobs and training opportunities in construction
Advance equity and diversity in the construction industry
Improve retention of existing apprentices and workers

Companies interested in learning more about the plan or joining a construction workgroup, should contact Melissa Boles at or 360.567.3185.


Nominations Sought for Excellence in Workforce Development Awards

Workforce SW is seeking nominations of businesses for two awards:

Innovation in Workforce Development: This business has demonstrated strong engagement in the community through the creation of innovative workforce opportunities for well-paying jobs and/or career pathway exploration for the community’s youth, adult job seekers and/or persons facing barriers to employment.

Excellence in Building Workforce Partnerships: This business has demonstrated strong engagement in the community through the development of partnerships with community-based organizations, nonprofits, community colleges, other businesses and/or workforce entities to create employment opportunities for the community’s youth, adult job seekers and/or persons facing barriers to employment.

Nominations for Clark County businesses are due in October. Cowlitz and Wahkiakum business nominations are due in January.

Click here for the details and to download a nomination form.


Planning for Manufacturing Day – October 4

Manufacturing Day in Southwest Washington is October 4. Workforce SW and its partners are planning manufacturing exposure and awareness events to bring young adults and companies together to help demystify manufacturing and spark career interest in young people.

Companies that want to get involved or learn more should contact Senior Industry Initiatives Manager Cass Parker at or 360.567.1076.


Save the Date: September 26 Tech Talent Event

WSW and CREDC are co-sponsoring an “Accessing Tech Talent” event on September 26. Tech employers are invited to attend and learn about the various options for accessing local tech talent.

To learn more contact Cass Parker at 360.567.1076 or


Incumbent worker training funds available

Do you need to train your current workers? Would you like funding assistance? Contact Darcy Hoffman, Regional Business Solutions Manager at 360.735.5038 or to see if your company qualifies for free training.


Short-term Training Leads to a Job

A grant designed to help individuals gain the skills needed to get hired by local technology, software or manufacturing companies has enabled WorkSource to help 56 people get new jobs.

Through WorkSource, Andrew Diamond completed a two-week soldering training and earned two industry-recognized certifications. Less than a month later, he was hired by Vancouver-based electronics manufacturer ControlTek.

In addition to manufacturing, WorkSource has technology training scholarships available for jobs, such as computer coding and programming in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, among others.

Unemployed or underemployed individuals who want to learn about jobs in technology, software, welding, soldering, engineering, mechatronics or manufacturing should contact a career coach or attend a free information session.

Kelso: Mondays, 1:30-3 p.m., WorkSource, 305 S. Pacific Avenue, Suite B, Kelso. Contact Stacie Manley at or 360.578.4256.
Vancouver: Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., WorkSource, 204 SE Stonemill Drive, Suite 215, Vancouver. Contact Jacob Miller at or 360.735.5084.

Companies seeking new employees or needing assistance to pay for training of current employees should contact Darcy Hoffman, Regional Business Solutions Manager, at WorkSource at 360.735.5038 or


Hiring Events 2nd & 4th Wednesdays at WorkSource Vancouver

WorkSource in Vancouver will hold hiring events featuring numerous companies on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month from 10 a.m. to noon.

The next hiring event is August 23 at WorkSource, 204 SE Stonemill Drive, Suite 215, Vancouver 98684.

Job seekers should bring copies of their resumes and dress for an interview. Free resume writing and interviewing workshops are held at both WorkSource centers in Vancouver and Kelso.

Vancouver workshops calendar
Kelso workshops calendar

Companies with open positions that would like to participate in the hiring events should contact Business Services Manager Marnie Farness at or 360.735.5079.


Nominations for Vancouver Chamber Business & Leadership Awards Due August 11

The Vancouver Chamber will present six “Business & Leadership Awards” to local businesses, nonprofits and/or individuals that are working to improve our community and business climate in Southwest Washington.

The Chamber looks to recognize a small and large “Business of the Year,” a “Start-Up to Watch,” and three individuals: Community Statesman, Community Champion, and a new John S. McKibbin Leadership Legacy Award.

Nomination forms are due on Friday, August 11 and can be found at Submit questions and nomination forms to GVCC CEO John McDonagh at


Goodwill Job Fair in Vancouver August 16


Washington Workforce Conference Nov. 7-8

The Washington Workforce Conference will be held November 7-8 at the DoubleTree Hotel, 18740 Pacific Highway South in Seattle.

Early Bird registration (on or before 10/6/17) is $495. Regular registration (after 10/6/17) is $545. Registration includes all educational sessions and meals.

Check the website for additional conference and hotel information.


Evergreen Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Benefit Breakfast is September 19

Enjoy breakfast and support Evergreen Habitat for Humanity at their annual breakfast on Tuesday, September 19.

The one-hour program (7:30-8:30 a.m.) at the Vancouver Hilton will feature testimonials from local Habitat homeowners. All funds raised benefit Habitat’s home building and repair projects in Clark County. More than 550 attendees are expected.

To register, visit or contact Development Director Amy Lodholz at 360.737.1759 x 208 or


Emotional Intelligence Seminar - September 20

Clark College Economic & Community Development, in collaboration with BlueEQ,™ is offering a one-day seminar on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) on Wednesday, September 20. BlueEQ™ is a market-leading emotional intelligence solution for senior leaders, managers and individuals.

EQ has recently enjoyed a resurgence of interest by industry-leading businesses as leaders and employees that rate high in EQ tend to be more successful than their counterparts.

According to a Center for Creative Leadership study, at least 55 percent of overall successful leadership is based on emotional intelligence factors.

If you are interested in improving business results, sales results, leadership effectiveness, customer service, safety on the job and more, you will want to attend this workshop.

The one-day workshop is $449/person or $399/person if two or more employees attend. To reserve your spot, contact Francois Wevers at


Career Videos on Career Bridge Website

More than 100 career videos are now available at, the Workforce Training & Education Board's website that includes more than 6,500 Washington education programs.

To view a video, click on an occupation in "View Job Trends." The videos provide users a first-hand look at a career. Videos are not available for all occupations. More videos will be added as they become available.

Find out what it's like to be:

An anesthesiologist
A nurse practitioner
A computer operator


Save the Date – Youth Employment Summit March 8, 2018

Building on the success of our first event, the next Youth Employment Summit (YES 2018) will be Thursday, March 8, 2018.

The first event in May 2017 drew more than 50 companies and 200 students. The teens participated in mock interviews and hands-on activities to learn about industries, career pathways and required skills. Some also applied for summer jobs and several were hired at the event. More information will be available for students at schools in the fall.

Companies interested in participating can learn more at the September 14 breakfast (see article above) or by contacting Youth Initiatives Manager Miriam Martin at or 360.567.3183.


Recruiting Open for 300 Environmental Positions for Washington Conservation Corps

With a $1.8 million federal AmeriCorps investment, the Department of Ecology is recruiting for 300 full-time environmental positions across the state to serve in the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC).

This is an opportunity for young adults and military veterans to gain hands-on experience implementing environmental restoration projects, engaging in environmental education and providing disaster response services.

To apply, go to or contact Outreach Coordinator Laura Schlabach at or 360.407.6924.


Workforce News

View media coverage, press releases and past newsletters at Workforce News.


WorkSource Workshops

Clark County: 204 SE Stonemill Drive, Suite 215, Vancouver, WA 98684, 360.735.5000. Click to view Clark County Workshops and Hiring Events.

Cowlitz-Wahkiakum: 305 S. Pacific Avenue, Suite B, Kelso, WA 98626, 360.577.2250. Click to view Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Workshops and Hiring Events.


WSW, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, contributes to regional economic growth
by providing investments and resources to improve the skills and education
of the workforce in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.

WSW-funded programs help businesses find and hire the employees they need
and provide people the skills, education and training to find work or advance in their careers. WSW partners with employers, community colleges and universities,
labor groups, government and economic development agencies, high schools and
community organizations to provide employment and training services
to businesses, job seekers and youth.


Workforce Southwest Washington
805 Broadway, Suite 412
Vancouver, WA 98660