Adult Investments

We work with industry leaders and community partners to create adult investments that connect people with career paths and training to promote economic security and advancement.

We bring together business and industry, community-based organizations and nonprofits, training and education providers, economic development and government agencies, to identify community needs. We then design programs, coordinate services and invest funds and resources to improve the skills individuals need so they can get work.

We ensure education and training programs meet the needs of regional businesses and that our system resources are interwoven, streamlined and effective.

We work with community partners to address high rates of poverty, reduce welfare dependency and enhance productivity in our community by supporting programs and initiatives that promote self-sufficiency.

WorkSource

Each year, thousands of people access employment and training services through WorkSource centers in Kelso and Vancouver. Services include:

  • Job search assistance
  • Access to job openings
  • On-the-job training
  • Internships and work experiences
  • Training and skill development
  • Supportive Services (clothing for employment, transportation assistance, childcare, etc.)
  • Information and referrals to other resources (i.e., services for people with disabilities, help with housing, etc.)

 

WorkSource Operator
The one-stop operator for the American Job Centers known as WorkSource Vancouver and WorkSource Kelso is Career Path Services Employment and Training. Contact: Amy Gimlin at agimlin@workforcesw.org or 360.567.1059. The contract was approved by WSW’s Board on June 13, 2023. The contract is for October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2027. The RFP can be viewed here. Operator procurement is governed by Procurement Policy #1003. The Statement of Work (SOW) is available here.

The State of our Workforce: Exploring our Populations in Southwest Washington

Reflecting our commitment to inclusion, equity and systems change, our team is examining underprioritized populations in Southwest Washington to bring awareness to disparities. This data-driven approach helps our team address these systemic disparities and create a more accessible and equitable workforce system.

In Southwest Washington, women in the workforce face significant wage disparities. Working women make an average of $37,353 per year in a stable job compared to the overall average wage of $52,849 per year in a stable job. Women also face employment disparities within high-paying industries, such as manufacturing, construction and professional, scientific and technical services. In construction in 2020, only 20.13% (3,472) of jobs were occupied by women, while men dominate 79.87% (13,772) of the industry.

At Workforce Southwest Washington, we believe that every worker should have access to high-quality employment and advancement opportunities. Through our investments and programs, we hope to create a more equitable workforce in Southwest Washington for women, where they have access to training, education and high-paying positions.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Women in Construction Week (March March 6 – 12) and beyond, we will continue to draw attention to the disparities that women and other historically-excluded communities face and disrupt systems to create a more equitable and accessible workforce for all.

Explore the data on Women in Construction below.

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is a tried and true training model that allows an individual to move into a career, even if that person has little or no work experience in their chosen field.

Apprentices get paid to learn on the job as they receive valuable classroom training and mentorship and develop the skills and knowledge that will help them become highly skilled and highly compensated in their field.

Thrive

As one of only four regions in the state to receive funding through Governor Inslee’s Economic Security for All initiative, our partnership with Lower Columbia Community Action Program, the Dept. of Social and Health Services and WorkSource is designed to help residents of Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties move out of poverty.

Called Thrive, our three-pronged approach includes training to move residents into higher-wage jobs, employer participation and support services and neighborhood revitalization.

Thrive focuses on individuals receiving public assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and individuals who are eligible to receive SNAP, but are not yet enrolled and have an income between 100 percent and 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Through partnerships with business, we are helping to create a system that keeps residents from losing benefits as their salary increases and identifying career pathways in our region’s four major sectors that will lead them to a long-term family-wage career.

For more information about our Adult Investments, Marnie Farness, Director of Programs at mfarness@workforcesw.org.

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