Adult Investments

Programs we support help people obtain jobs or the training they need to get a job or advance in their career.

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 make sure 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 economic self-sufficiency.


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 Cowlitz/Wahkiakum is Arbor E&T LLC, DBA Equus Workforce Solutions. Contact: Jessica Richards at or 503.975.9432. The contract was approved by WSW’s Board on June 12, 2019.

The contract is for October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2023. The RFP can be viewed at One-stop Operator RFP. 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 historically-underserved 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.


Apprenticeships are stepping stones that allow an individual to move into a new career, even if that person has little or no work experience in their chosen field.

Apprentices get paid to learn as they receive valuable training and mentorship, further their education and develop the skills and knowledge that will help them become valued professionals.

NW Promise

Through our partnership with the Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative (CWWC), we are investing in healthcare training and providing access to healthcare training for underrepresented populations in Southwest Washington and Oregon. Through this investment, the CWWC has seen an increase in people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities working in healthcare from CNAs to Medical Assistants to RNs.


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.

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