Longview-based Northwest Motors Sales & Service (NWMS) recently partnered with Goodwill of the Olympic and Rainier Region and developed an Industrial Training Program.

When Tori Skinner from Goodwill approached NWMS owner Spencer Wiggins with the idea of creating a program to address the skills gap in the local job market and make use of grant funds, they came up with a design that played to the strengths of both organizations. NWMS would provide its depth of industry knowledge and high standards of quality and service, and Goodwill would enrich the experience with recruitment, training, case management and transitional supports services.

The collaboration paid off. NWMS and Goodwill recently completed a three-month Industrial Training pilot program that resulted in NWMS hiring three new employees.

NWMS provides installation, repair, sales and maintenance of electric motors to pulp and paper mills, oil and gas, steel mills, marine, mining, power plants and other industries in the Western United States.

“Our business continues to expand and the additional volume presents a new set of challenges,” said NWMS owner Spencer Wiggins. “One of our goals as an organization is to support the local economy and provide youth a chance to participate as we experience this growth while allowing us to meet our increased staffing needs,” said Wiggins.

“When companies drive development of training programs by partnering with the public workforce system, it ensures they have the skilled workers they need and residents have the skills to fill available jobs,” said Jeanne Bennett, CEO of Workforce Southwest Washington.

For the program, Goodwill recruited and screened applicants. More than 70 applications were received.

NWMS selected three candidates for the 10-week internship. Wages for the interns were paid under a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grant provided through Workforce Southwest Washington.

Participants spent four days on the worksite under the mentorship of key NWMS personnel and one day per week at the Goodwill Work Opportunity Center learning from an industry-specific training program. They completed the 17-volume EASA Mechanical Repair Fundamentals, earned certifications in OSHA 10, Forklift and CPR/First Aid, attended courses in financial literacy and received coaching in career path planning.

Upon graduating the training program, the three interns were hired by NWMS. Because of the pilot’s success, Goodwill and NWMS will provide this training multiple times a year to area youth. Interested candidates should call the Goodwill Work Opportunity Center of Cowlitz County.

“The leadership and mentorship I witnessed from the staff at Northwest Motors is incalculable,” said Goodwill Business Development Manager Tori Skinner. “The NWMS team is inspiring a new generation of local youth to look at themselves in new ways, explore career options they never knew were in their own community, receive critical feedback and build professional confidence,” said Skinner. “It is powerful to see how much impact can be achieved through complementary partnerships.”

Businesses interested in exploring opportunities to create on-the-job training programs and connections to develop skilled employees should contact Goodwill Business Development Manager Tori Skinner at Victorias@goodwillwa.org or 360.501.8359.

“Employers are at the heart of what we do and we strive to complement their needs and make hiring a positive, even enriching experience,” said Skinner of Goodwill. “Everyone wins when talent is grown and supported, and opportunities are treated with respect.”