Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) presented Excellence in Workforce Development Awards to four Cowlitz County organizations at its March 13 board meeting.

Awards were given in two categories: Excellence in Building Workforce Partnerships and Innovation in Workforce Development.

  • JH Kelly, IBEW Local 48 in partnership with the Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council (LKBCTC), and the Longview School District received the Excellence in Building Workforce Partnerships Award for their collaboration in developing a high school pre-apprenticeship program.

(l to r) Workforce Southwest Washington CEO Kevin Perkey; Mike Bridges, IBEW48 Local Representative, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council; Gabe Gourde, Electrical Operations Manager at JH Kelly, LLC; Jill Diehl, Longview School District Director of Career and College Readiness and Workforce Southwest Washington Board Chair Bill Skidmore.

 

(l to r) Mike Bridges, IBEW48 Local Representative, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council; Gabe Gourde, Electrical Operations Manager at JH Kelly, LLC; Jill Diehl, Longview School District Director of Career and College Readiness received the Excellence in Workforce Partnerships award from Workforce Southwest Washington.

The program combines classroom instruction and hands-on construction projects with field trips to regional construction businesses, where students interact with employees. While completing a combination of traditional courses, students also learn trade-specific skills in fabrication, construction and manufacturing to prepare them for entry into a trades apprenticeship program after graduation.

With JH Kelly’s financial support, the district upgraded equipment and facilities. JH Kelly employees mentored instructors, providing guidance and recommendations for equipment and technology, and leading on-site tours of their company and a commercial build-site for students and teachers to gain real-world experience of the construction workplace.

LKBCTC is sponsoring the program to be registered with the State of Washington. It has invited district staff to participate in labor council meetings, and has provided mentoring and guidance in planning and development of the program. IBEW 48 and LKBCTC assisted the district in developing connections and partnerships with numerous labor councils across the state and in Washington D.C. to ensure the pre-apprenticeship program is of the highest quality. In addition, the LKBCTC provided sponsorship and recommendations on the class curriculum which was developed by the North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU).

Due to the partnership and support of IBEW 48 and the LKBCTC, Longview will be the first school district in Washington State to provide this curriculum.

“Through the generous support and dedication of JH Kelly and IBEW 48 in this partnership, Longview students and the Cowlitz County workforce will be positively impacted now and in the future,” said Jill Diehl, Director of Career and College Readiness at Longview School District.

“Business investment in developing and supporting partnerships to train the next generation of workers is key to the continued growth of our region,” said Workforce Southwest Washington CEO Kevin Perkey. “The Longview School District pre-apprenticeship program is helping fill a critical skills gap in our region while expanding opportunities for local youth to prepare to enter an apprenticeship or the workforce.”

  • North American Tarp, LLC received the Innovation in Workforce Development Award for its commitment to creating opportunities for jobs and career pathway exploration for individuals with barriers to employment, especially those who have been justice involved or are recovering from addiction.

(l to r) Workforce Southwest Washington CEO Kevin Perkey; North American Tarp, LLC CEO Logan Hornung; Workforce Southwest Washington Board Chair Bill Skidmore.

 

(l to r) After receiving the Innovation in Workforce Development Award from Workforce Southwest Washington, North American Tarp, LLC CEO Logan Hornung describes the loyalty and dedication of his employees, many of whom have been involved in the criminal justice system or are recovering from addiction.

Established in 2001, North American Tarp manufacturers vinyl products, including truck tarps, bags, enclosures, containment, sporting equipment, and personal coverings of any kind.

CEO Logan Hornung believes in second chances and says his business is modeled around helping people who want help. Many that have been employed at North American Tarp over the years have had run-ins with the legal system or are in a recovery program. Hornung is committed to helping his employees succeed and allows them schedule flexibility to attend meetings or appointments to help them stay on track. He also mentors employees on the soft skills needed to maintain employment such as working when scheduled, arriving on time, producing while at work and attention to detail.

Hornung works closely with Donna Hughes at WorkSource and has hosted work experiences and on-the-job trainings, hiring new employees through these programs. He continues to grow the business and hire more individuals with a desire to be part of a team environment.

Having spent years going into prisons and treatment facilities where he says he met some of the most highly-intelligent and creatively-brilliant people, Hornung says, “You’re a mentor and build relationships. You build a bond for life. It’s who we are, not what we do.”

“I’m proud WSW’s investments in WorkSource are enabling North American Tarp to hire local talent and invest in developing the skills of its employees,” said Workforce Southwest Washington CEO Kevin Perkey. “Businesses that provide employment to individuals overcoming barriers are helping to create a region where the opportunity for prosperity and growth exists for all,” continued Perkey.

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