Young Adult Investments

As the workforce of the future, educating and training young adults is vitally important. We invest in community programs that empower young people to learn and develop the skills necessary to succeed.

Through real-world and on-the-job experiences, young people gain the knowledge and experience to be good employees.

Some of the programs Workforce Southwest Washington helped develop:


SummerWorks pairs local businesses with youth for paid summer jobs. Each youth participates in a pre-placement work-readiness training course prior to starting their job. By simplifying the hiring process, the program gives businesses an on-ramp to hiring young adults. SummerWorks Talent Development Specialists work with the business to identify a candidate who meets their needs and SummerWorks serves as the employer of record for participants. Youth assist with a diverse array of tasks and project-based assignments, learning about your industry and gaining key skills to become the next generation of talent for your business.

Hiring young adults for a summer job provides companies a unique opportunity to invest in their future workforce and help create a trained and experienced candidate pool. Since 2018, SummerWorks has created more than 100 summer jobs in Southwest Washington.

SummerWorks offers innovative virtual job offerings in these challenging times. Even if your office or business is working remotely, you can still host SummerWorks talent!


In August 2018, WSW opened Next, Clark County’s first and only youth employment and training center. Next integrates education, job placement, training, housing support and other services in one place to improve accessibility for young adults no longer in school. Next is a place where youth can feel safe and empowered, and build community and relationships.

Visit the website at

Next Strategic Plan Update 09-2019

Youth Employment Summit (YES)

Our annual career exploration fair and first jobs hiring event introduces young adults to local companies in our region’s high-growth, high-demand industries to help them make decisions about their future education, training and work. Companies provided hands-on learning activities, allowing students to try out tools of the trades, healthcare simulation manikins and construction equipment, among other activities.

Click to read a Columbian article about YES

Read more about YES on

Future Leaders Project (FLP)

As Southwest Washington grows so does the need to have people in leadership positions that reflect the growing diversity of our community.

The Future Leaders Project (FLP) is an initiative of Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) and Washington State University Vancouver (WSUV). The FLP places students from historically underrepresented communities into paid summer internships, providing growth and professional development opportunities.

First-generation college students, individuals with disabilities, Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, Asian, other People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ members of our community build on their leadership and professional experience through networking with industry, business and regional leaders. Making these connections enables the students to build a professional network and develop the social capital necessary to excel in their careers.

Meet our Summer 2021 intern:

Mandipa Masike, a Washington State University Vancouver (WSUV) senior studying Strategic Communication and Business Administration hopes to become a Public Relation Specialist working with diverse businesses and empowering historically underserved communities. During her 200-hour internship through WSUV’s Future Leaders Program, she is assisting WSW with an outreach project to learn more about what current college students and future job seekers look for in a quality job and the potential unique impacts this could have on future jobs in the market. This research will help inform WSW’s efforts to provide needed resources for this population and others. Mandipa will be developing and leading outreach efforts and will also be job shadowing staff and meeting community partners to help her make connections and develop a professional network.

2020 FLP Intern

Businesses interested in learning more about the FLP and hosting interns, please contact our Director of Business Services Darcy Hoffman at or 360.608.4949.

WSUV students should contact Bill Stahley, WSUV Student Resource Center Manager at or 360.546.9273.

For more information about our youth investments, contact Miriam Halliday at

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