New Self Referral System Has Resounding Impact on Collaboration Event

March 10, 2023 

An early winter snowstorm the night before the Collaboration for a Cause event in December added a bit of uncertainty for organizers and participants. While schools around the county were calling two-hour late starts and closures, WorkForce Central’s Community Engagement Team was connecting with partners and figuring out a plan. Ultimately, they opted to continue as planned, and the event turned out to be one of the most successful to date.

Nearly 150 people participated and were connected with organizations offering resources for employment, education & training, young adults, health, and basic needs.

“Three families that came to the event that day were experiencing homelessness and had been living out of their vehicles,” said Kelly Blucher, Community Engagement Coordinator. By the end of the day, all three families had a roof over their heads in temporary or shared housing.

The event’s success can be attributed to several reasons. Organizers have worked hard to spread awareness of the event with a new innovative approach to reaching people. A new self-referral system allows people to pre-register for a Collaboration event and select which services and organizations they would like to connect with. The new system allows people who can’t make it to a specific event to still get the help they need. Of the nearly 150 people who participated in the event, almost 100 of them used the new pre-registration and self-referral system.

“With every Collaboration for a Cause event, we get a lot of feedback from the community before, during, and after the event,” Blucher said. “We’re then taking that feedback and continue to tailor each event to the needs of that community.”

One thing Blucher said she noticed from the new self-referral system was that organizations such as Rebuilding Hope and Tacoma Rescue Mission, organizations that cater to mental health and addiction services, saw an increase in referrals.

“When we have them at our events, they’re not a frequently visited booth,” she said. “Having that self-referral system allowed for a level of privacy in the way people connected with them. Those were one of the highest referral rate increases we’ve had as a direct result of this new system.”

The WorkForce Central Community Engagement team is working with the Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force on the next Collaboration for a Cause, bringing the event to the East Pierce County community. Collaboration for a Cause: Puyallup will be held from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm on Thursday, March 16, at Pioneer Park Pavilion in Puyallup. This quarter’s event is a partnership with the Puyallup Library and Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce. The main event will be held in the Pavilion, with other services offered at the library.

“Boeing will be doing on-the-spot hiring,” Blucher said. “We’re also partnering with AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) to provide tax services to increase income support for families.”

WorkSource Pierce partners will also be on hand to offer job interview readiness skills and resume help to job seekers. Several tables will also be set up to help people connect with DSHS (Department of Social Health and Services).

“I’m looking forward to a lot more youth/young adult participation and helping those experiencing homelessness,” Blucher said. “We’re really trying to meet people where they’re at.”

Collaboration for a Cause is an event held by the Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force, powered by WorkForce Central. To learn more about the Task Force and the event, go to

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