The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative (CWWC) is a partnership between the Southwest Washington-Portland Metropolitan Area’s three Workforce Development Boards – Workforce Southwest Washington, Clackamas Workforce Partnership and Worksystems.
Authorized by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Local Workforce Boards are designated by the Governor and local elected officials to receive, invest and manage federal and state resources dedicated to improving the quality of the local workforce. Local Boards serve as strategic conveners, investors, coordinators, researchers and brokers to align resources, streamline services and improve results. The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative was formed in 2010 to deliver a unified approach to serve industry, support economic development, and guide public workforce investments across the region.
The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative aligns the capabilities and resources of the three Boards to improve the region’s ability to respond to regional labor market shifts, to leverage and layer funding streams, to coordinate ideas and strategies, to pursue resources and fill gaps, to link workforce supply and industry demand, and to promote shared policies and collective impact.
Our level of regional workforce collaboration is unique and brings all of the region’s public workforce resources and efforts together to effectively meet current and emerging workforce needs. The Collaborative has enabled meaningful business engagement, refocused and aligned the regional public workforce development infrastructure, and emerged as an integral partner in regional economic development.
Over the years, the Collaborative has enjoyed significant success and developed a nationally-recognized model to engage industry, identify regional workforce issues and implement shared solutions. The Collaborative has been awarded nearly $60 million in competitive workforce funding to address workforce challenges in the healthcare, technology, manufacturing and construction sectors.
Sectors are chosen based on factors such as their economic significance to the region, current number of openings and job growth projections, average wages that support self-sufficiency, and career ladder opportunities across the skill continuum. By examining labor market intelligence and vetting the information with businesses, we are able to better understand industry trends, identify current and emergent workforce needs, and develop customized solutions for each sector.
With an area more than 6,600 square miles, a population over 2.2 million, a workforce of nearly 1.7 million, more than 70,000 businesses, 2 states, 7 counties, 24 cities, 27 colleges and universities, 28 business chambers, 41 school districts, and 61 economic development organizations the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area is a vibrant, diverse and complex region.
The quality of the region’s workforce is a primary driver of economic development and the region’s overall economic health. Regions that most effectively manage their workforce talent are likely to be more competitive and attract the quality of jobs people need to support themselves and their families.
The Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative guides the public workforce training investments to better address the needs of our combined labor shed. We know that people are willing to travel throughout the region for the best opportunities and that businesses need the most qualified workers regardless of where they live. By working together, we can cultivate our regional talent pool and build the foundation for a strong economy.
Who We Are
Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), a nonprofit organization, funds community prosperity by investing in services that help individuals gain skills to obtain good-paying jobs or advance in their careers and help companies attract, train and retain workers. Since 2003, WSW has invested more than $100 million in Southwest Washington. WSW is the Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) designated by federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation to oversee the public workforce system in Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark counties.
Worksystems is the Workforce Development Board for the City of Portland, and Multnomah and Washington counties. Worksystems is a non-profit agency that accelerates economic growth by pursuing and investing resources to improve the quality of the workforce.
Clackamas Workforce Partnership is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building a strong workforce in Clackamas County. Through public-private partnerships, CWP attracts funding to help local businesses proactively address a key challenge to their success—a skilled, competitive workforce. As a convener of public-private partnerships, CWP oversees the public workforce system in Clackamas County.
Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative Assets
business & community leader board members
in annual workforce investments
job seekers served annually across nine WorkSource centers
Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative Activities
Support Education and Advocacy for Workforce Policy Issues
- Identify and resolve regional workforce policy and implementation issues
- Liaison to State and National Policy Groups
- Oregon Workforce Partnership
- Oregon Workforce Training and Talent Council
- Washington Workforce Association
- Washington Education & Training Coordinating Board
- United States Conference of Mayors
- National Association of Workforce Boards
- National Fund for Workforce Solutions
- National Skills Coalition
- Liaison to government affairs staff in local municipalities
- Coordinate policy agenda and educational outreach visits to Salem/Olympia/Washington DC
Provide Research & Analysis of Labor Market and Workforce Trends
- Coordinate and publish regional research reports:
- State of the Workforce
- Sector Labor Market Information (LMI) Reports
- Self Sufficiency
- Opportunity Youth
- Coordinate regional research efforts/white papers/workforce trend and issue analysis
- Facilitate connections with state labor market information staff
- Coordinate and support Regional Research and Analysis Committee
Support the Workforce Needs of Regional Businesses
- Liaison to the public workforce development system business teams
- Manage and evaluate feedback loop from employers on hiring and training needs, placements
- Identify and solve regional employer workforce needs
- Troubleshoot growth challenges by connecting business partners to reliable resources
Coordinate Regional Industry Sector Support
Expand Regional Access to and Effectiveness of the Public Workforce System
- Coordinate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) assessment of the regional WorkSource and youth systems
- Oversee customer satisfaction survey process
- Report system-wide and center-specific performance
- Expand network of community-based organization partners
- Leverage public investment to expand the impact of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across the region
Conduct Regional Strategic Planning
- Oversee process to create and maintain a regional strategic plan that aligns with and supports local workforce plans
- Report on regional performance metrics using a regional workforce dashboard
- Coordinate alignment with other regional planning efforts including economic development, community colleges, higher education and pre-K-12 education.
Enhance Support for Regional Economic Development
- Liaison to Greater Portland Inc., chambers of commerce, business and trade associations, economic development councils, and other business groups
- Single point of contact for new business recruitments
- Coordinate regional response to identified workforce issues