FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: CANDICE RUUD, 253.213.2960

TACOMA, Wash. – New leaders will take the helm at the Pierce County Workforce Development Council (WDC): Last week, the WDC voted April Gibson in as its new Chair and Steve Gear as First Vice Chair.

Gibson, a seven-year WDC member and administrator at Puget Sound Orthopaedics, previously served as Vice Chair. Steve Gear, who is Vice President of Energy Products & Technology Development at Bradken, has served on the WDC since 2016. Both will provide leadership for a three-year term.

“With a 5.2 percent unemployment rate in Pierce County in May – higher than most neighboring counties, the state and national rates – the WDC is ready to roll up its sleeves to increase the number of Pierce County residents connected to training and family wage jobs, and connect employers to local talent,” Gibson said.

“The WDC can’t do this alone,” said WorkForce Central CEO Linda Nguyen. “We will need to call upon our existing partners and engage new partners. There is much untapped talent out there and jobs to fill, so now we need to marry those two in order to beef up our economy.”

Gibson joined other WDC members in thanking former Chair Tim Owens for his service. “It has been a pleasure working with Tim Owens on the WDC. I have been amazed at his grasp of the details and hope to use the knowledge I’ve learned from him to continue our work to serve the diverse needs of our Pierce County workforce,” she said.

Owens will join the WDC Young Adult Committee that focuses on improving the lives of young adults. Owens was honored by United Way of Pierce County earlier this year as one of five LIVE UNITED award winners, an award given to individuals who “embody what it means to LIVE UNITED” – those who think of others before themselves and impact their communities through selfless contributions.

Previously a store manager at Marshalls in Lakewood, Owens is leaving that role to become a teacher at Mount Tahoma High School, where he’ll continue to directly work with and impact the lives of young people. As a store manager, he estimated in an interview earlier this year that about 20 percent of his employees were high school students. When he hires young people, he also acts as a career counselor, helping connect them to resources to get on the right path to their chosen career.

WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.

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