In COVID-19, Equity/Diversity/Inclusion

To Our Community and Partners,

As these last several months have shown, Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) has a tremendous amount of work to do to ensure each person in our community has access to critically needed workforce development programs, services and opportunities so they can care for themselves and their families.

We remain committed to working with you and our community to invest in transformative change. Change that breaks down systemic racism. Change that demands equitable access and opportunity for Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, Asian, other People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ members of our community. Change that creates a society in which equity, empathy, acceptance and collaboration replace bigotry and unequal treatment in our institutions, policies and neighborhoods here in Southwest Washington. We stand by you.

WSW values racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

WSW has a responsibility to ensure that programs, services, our American Job Centers and other workforce investments are accessible to all, especially those historically underrepresented and marginalized. Our workforce system is predicated on a belief in human potential. We believe with financial support, training, and encouragement, anyone can claim honorable work, feed and clothe their family, and thrive as an empowered member of the economy and society.

We recognize there is work to be done and have begun by taking the following actions:

Centering diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our organization

  • As a team, we are committed to these values.
  • Collaborating through the leadership of our Board of Directors on diversifying our membership and ensuring an inclusive Board culture.
  • Reviewing our contract priorities to center equity and inclusion practices across our investments.
  • Reviewing internal processes, procedures and policies with an equity lens.

Undergoing a strategic planning process

  • Ensuring our mission, vision and goals are aligned with our diversity, equity and inclusion values.
  • Engaging our community and stakeholders through listening/learning sessions to inform our strategic thinking as we look to tackle these challenges.
  • Working with regional partners to develop a quality-jobs conversation focused on providing family-sustaining wages and benefits, a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace, and opportunities for professional growth, among other elements.

Raising community voices

  • Learning from the lived experiences of our diverse community by participating in various community and education committees that are working to advance equity and empower underrepresented populations, including people of color, English language learners, and individuals with disabilities.
  • Continuing to seek out and invite to the workforce conversation those voices and communities that are missing and build trusting and collaborative relationships and partnerships.

As our efforts continue to take shape, we will share them with you. We invite your input and suggestions. Dismantling privilege and racism is important work and it will take all of us to create change that is meaningful and lasting. We can and will do better. We invite you to join us in taking steps toward justice and racial equity.


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