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.

Youth Service Providers
The provider of WIOA Youth Services for the one-stop youth center for Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties is Arbor E&T LLC, DBA Equus Workforce Solutions. An additional partner in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties providing work experience services through Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainer Region. Contact: Michelle McClanahan at or 360.907.2064. The contract was approved by WSW’s Board on March 11, 2020. The contract is for July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2023. The RFP can be viewed at WIOA Youth RFP. Youth procurement is governed by Procurement Policy #1003. The Statements of Work (SOW) are available here: Clark County, Cowlitz/Wahkiakum, and Goodwill of the Olympics Rainer Region

Some of the programs Workforce Southwest Washington helped develop:


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


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 served more than 300 young adults in Southwest Washington. In 2020-2021, SummerWorks provided 11,284 internship hours and 5,951 workshop hours.

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!

Youth interested in SummerWorks can reach out to Next by phone at 360.207.2628 or by email at in Clark County or in Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Counties.

Businesses interested in hosting a SummerWorks intern can reach out to Senior Project Manager Nolan Yaws-Gonzalez at or 360.567.1066.

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 (WSU Vancouver). 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.

In 2021, The Oregonian wrote a spotlight on the Future Leaders Project, featuring perspectives from companies and the interns they hosted. Read more here.

Meet our 2022 FLP Intern

Alyn Rivera Vidals

Alyn Rivera Vidals is a Washington State University Vancouver (WSU Vancouver) senior studying Human Development. She is also pursuing a minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Case Management & Administration. After her graduation in May 2023, Alyn hopes to work with community populations in Southwest Washington. Alyn brings expertise in young adult engagement and facilitation from her previous roles as a Peer Mentor and Ambassador at WSU Vancouver. During Alyn’s 200-hour internship through WSUV’s Future Leaders Project, she will be researching grant writing, working with youth populations and shadowing team members across WSW.

Mandipa Masike

Mandipa Masike, a Washington State University Vancouver (WSU Vancouver) 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 WSU Vancouver’s Future Leaders Project, 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.

Isabella Becerra

Hi, I’m Bella from Washington State University Vancouver. I am studying Human Development and Gerontology. I hope to become a Case Manager, working with seniors and disabled adults. After working and gaining experience, I would like to return to school and receive a master’s in Social Work. I am grateful for this opportunity to experience a new field of human services and learn some things about myself along the way.

Businesses interested in learning more about the FLP and hosting interns, please contact our Senior Project Manager Nolan Yaws-Gonzalez at or 360.567.1066.

WSU Vancouver students should contact Bill Stahley, WSU Vancouver Employer Engagement Coordinator at or 360.546.9273.

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

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