In Business Growth, Economic Mobility

Our new 2021-2024 Strategic Plan focuses on creating an equitable economic recovery by supporting business growth and recovery and economic mobility.

Created by business, education, staff, and community, the plan lays out three overarching goals and specific objectives we will work to accomplish in the next three years.

Guided by the plan, WSW’s efforts will focus on:

  1. Business Growth and Recovery – Businesses have access to hire, develop and invest in the skilled workers they need to recover and grow
  2. Economic Mobility – Promote equity for every individual by providing ‎access to high-quality employment and ‎advancement opportunities
  3. Systems Change – An accessible and effective workforce system exists to advance equity for individuals and to promote the community and economic development goals of the region

“The economic downturn from the COVID pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, women, younger workers and those with less education and lower incomes,” said Kevin Perkey, CEO of Workforce Southwest Washington. “Through our new strategic plan, we will view our investments with an equity lens. And will create strategies for the workforce development system to support individuals from historically marginalized communities and ensure businesses have the workers to grow and recover. Workforce development strategies that help people get back to work quickly or get training to advance in their careers are critical for our region’s economic recovery.”

Two key initiatives that will be developed to support plan goals are (1) leading the development and expansion of high-quality jobs, and (2) building a community-based partnership network of historically underrepresented communities to eliminate barriers to assistance and enable them to have a voice in developing solutions to meet the workforce needs of their communities.

To move these initiatives forward, WSW is forming committees around each goal and is seeking partnership and involvement from businesses, community-based organizations and individuals.

As part of the business growth and recovery goal, WSW and its Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative partners in Oregon are launching a Quality Jobs Initiative. Working closely with business, community, and education partners to define what high-quality work means for our region and how we can work together to support a high-quality job for everyone. The initiative is based on work developed by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

To promote economic mobility, WSW recently distributed and closed a request for proposals for an organization to assist with the investigation, recommendations and development of a network comprised of community-based organizations and social service agencies, with the common goal of connecting individuals to living-wage employment. We are putting processes in place to enable more groups to have a voice in developing solutions to meet the needs of local communities.

“We are promoting equity for every individual by providing access to high-quality employment and advancement opportunities,” said Perkey. “Including supporting families impacted by the opioid epidemic and individuals re-entering the community from the justice system.”

Learn more about WSW’s 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.


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