July 2022 – June 2023
Pierce County Labor Supply & Demand
Establishments in Pierce County
Regional Unemployment Rate
The Communities We Served
were experiencing homelessness
were single parents
were low income
had a disability
identified as a person of color
Job Seeker Services
Our Young Adult services help prepare in-school and out-of-school young adults 16-24 for employment. The core providers of these holistic services are, Career TEAM and Palmer Scholars. They work directly with young adults, providing workforce services that include career pathway exploration, training, education, work experience, supportive services, and follow-up. Over this last year, they served 230 young adults, with 40 securing employment directly upon exiting the program. Others chose to pursue further education or training to enhance their skills. Additionally, 26 young adults completed pre-apprenticeships, 17 completed occupational skills training, 100 completed individualized training, and 20 completed work experience placements.
We have multiple opportunities for adult job seekers to receive support on their path to high-demand, quality jobs. Our Adult service provider, Career TEAM, works directly with adult job seekers through the WorkSource Pierce system to identify the navigation, training, and job connection supports that best fit their career goals and individual needs. This last program year, 1,000 adults received workforce services. Of the 581 who exited the program, 328 completed occupational skills training, 418 completed individualized training, and 301 exited directly to employment with an average annual wage of $50,000. Those who have not yet exited the program continue to receive services to reach their career goals or are participating in training opportunities.
TRANSITIONING SERVICE MEMBERS & MILITARY FAMILIES
In addition to our general adult services, we have specialized workforce services for transitioning service members and military families. Those services are accessed directly by individuals on base at the WorkSource JBLM center and off base at the WorkSource Pierce center. Services available include career assessment, skills translation, training, internships, apprenticeships, and job search and connection assistance. This program year, 165 transitioning service members and military family members received workforce services. Of these, 33 completed occupational skills training, 15 completed work experience placements, 18 participated in the Spouse Ambassador Program, and 146 exited directly to employment.
STABILIZATION TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
The Stabilization Training and Employment Program, or STEP, is a pilot initiative that combines services provided by our housing system partners with workforce development services. Participants are residents of or experiencing homelessness in Pierce County and are engaged in services through our housing system partners. The goal of the pilot is to support 40 people to complete 16 hours of job readiness training, compile a portfolio, and complete a Work Experience internship. The ultimate aim is to establish a pathway to a self-sufficient wage job and ensure people have the wrap around supports to achieve long-term success in that path. The program is up and running, with 10 participants starting this last program year.
Our Business Solutions team assists employers with strategies to address today’s workforce needs. They provide consultations to businesses to assess workforce needs and create a customized plan to meet the unique workforce goals of each business. They connect skilled job seekers to these employment opportunities, coordinate workplace training opportunities, support businesses with layoff prevention and assistance, and provide labor market and occupational data to help businesses understand labor trends, demands, and wage competitiveness. This program year, our Business Solutions team provided 1,494 services for employers and provided support to fill 2,800 jobs.
HIRING EVENTS & JOB FAIRS
Hiring events and job fairs play an important role in connecting employers and job seekers. They offer quality job opportunities to community members in search of employment and provide businesses with a candidate pool of workers ready to engage. Our Business Solutions team hosted 17 events this program year, with more than 300 employers and 2,000 job seekers in attendance. Of these, 13 were in-person events with 209 employers and 1,498 job seekers, and 4 were virtual events with 100 employers and 513 job seekers.
Employers across high-demand industries throughout Pierce County seek qualified workers to fill positions that provide living-wage employment. Our Business Solutions team meets this need with training opportunities to equip workers with the skills necessary for these high-demand occupations. This last program year, we coordinated and supported 11 industry training cohorts through the Introduction to Healthcare and Employment Apprenticeships Program, Waterversity, Manufacturing Academy, 418 Intelligence Cybersecurity, and Code Fellows. Through the cohorts, 159 people completed their training, gaining valuable skills to launch their new careers. 118 individuals received a combined $223,250 in training stipends.
To support the growth and development of local businesses, our Business Solutions team developed the Employer Reskills/Upskill fund designed to increase business and employee competitiveness and avert layoffs. The goal of this opportunity is to fund businesses directly who have a need to upskill or reskill their workers into higher wage jobs. This last program year, 79 existing employees received training through the program to obtain the skills and credentials needed to retain and grow in their employment. The 3 participating employers were reimbursed $39,139 for the training costs, allowing them to maintain and grow their workforce.
WORK EXPERIENCE & INTERNSHIPS
Our work experience and internship opportunities are planned, structured, and paid learning experiences in the workplace. The Business Solutions team engages with employers to develop work experience opportunities and facilitate worksite agreements in preparation for candidate placement. Subsidized wages and paid internships allow businesses to focus on providing mentorship and job skill development and provide the candidates with earned income and industry/career exposure. This program year, 41 businesses participated in hosting workers in 99 paid work experiences and 24 internships. Participants collectively worked 14,864 hours and earned $257,624 in wages.
Our Business Solutions team works with businesses facing downturns, closures, or layoffs to support their transition and lessen the learning curve for their workers facing unemployment. As the designated Rapid Response coordinators for layoffs and business closures in Pierce County, our Business Solutions team brings together state and local partners to inform workers about the resources and services available to them as they navigate the process. Rapid Response sessions provide information on unemployment benefits, health and retirement benefits, employment and training resources, job search support, and resources for labor-represented workers. This program year, the team coordinated 2 Rapid Response sessions and also hosted 4 virtual Layoff Assistance Sessions supporting more than 400 people experiencing layoffs.
COVID HUNGER RELIEF
Through a contract with the Washington State Department of Commerce, WorkForce Central was awarded a Community Development Block Grant for Covid Hunger Relief that funded 23 full-time positions, in partnership with Valeo Vocation, at food banks in Pierce County. The grant is intended to support those with low and moderate income. In addition to the initial funding, Department of Commerce awarded WorkForce Central additional funding to continue this work through the end of 2023.
Stewarded by WorkForce Central, the Pierce County WorkSource System offers several locations throughout Pierce County for community members to connect to workforce services, including a One-Stop center, 2 satellite sites, and 23 connection sites. The WorkSource Pierce One Stop Center in Tacoma is the primary hub where our 21 system partners align and provide services to the public. This program year, nearly 10,000 people walked through the doors seeking assistance. The WorkSource JBLM location provides services on base directly to veterans and military families. To increase access to the WorkSource system in East Pierce County, we opened a new satellite location this program year at the South Hill Mall in Puyallup. Partners operate this location five days a week and offer a schedule of services. It has also hosted a number of single-employer hiring events and the young adult job fair, Jobfest. Our various connection sites throughout Pierce County connect job seekers to technology with access to online resources and workforce services.
PIERCE COUNTY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TASK FORCE
As WorkForce Central’s core community engagement initiative, the task force is instrumental in supporting the alignment of our community partners and fostering an inclusive environment that identifies the community’s needs and ensures we bring the connections and resources they need. Through events like Collaboration for a Cause, we are connecting with more people, fostering a community, and getting our partners connected. This program year, the Task Force held three Collaboration for a Cause events, with 520 participants and 2,635 referrals to partner organizations. In May, the Task Force held the first Lens of Equity Summit. More than 250 people attended the event focused on Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion. The summit featured keynote speakers, presentations, workshops, and educational resources. It showed how organizations, businesses, and individuals can be action-oriented in implementing equity work in Pierce County. With such a positive response from our partners and the community, the next summit is already in the works. In June, the Task Force was recognized for its work with a City of Destiny Award from the City of Tacoma.
CHILD CARE CAPACITY INITIATIVE
WorkForce Central is supporting First 5 Fundamentals, The Pierce County Early Childhood Network, and Pierce County in using a $1.4 million grant to create a support system for childcare providers. With a goal to create a long-lasting, sustainable program that brings stability to the system as a whole, the Child Care Capacity Initiative started its first cohort of 13 childcare providers in January and met 60% of its goal to increase childcare slots within the first 5 months of the program. WorkForce Central is supporting this program by providing guidance through a position in its leadership team, prioritizing childcare an in-demand occupation, and developing Work Experience placements with other organizations, such as the Multicultural Family Hope Center. We are invested in this work as we know more childcare organizations are needed to support working parents, who are often customers accessing WorkSource Pierce services. Additionally, we are working with local officials to explore policy and zoning changes to help further support this industry. A second cohort is in the works to continue this two-year project.
WorkForce Central has been actively working with Behavioral Health employers in Pierce County to reduce the barriers that exist to entering and progressing in the behavioral health workforce. We launched the Pierce County Behavioral Health Consortium in 2022, a partnership of providers that has identified key barriers to sustaining this workforce and has developed five core strategies to address them. 1) Career Mapping, Pathways Awareness, and Translation includes dynamic and interactive mapping for prospective and current behavioral health workers to demonstrate opportunities for entry and growth along the continuum. 2) Intern Retention Support focuses on supporting interns through an earn-and-learn model, ensuring interns have the financial support they need to successfully complete their internship. 3) Increased Supervision Capacity focuses on testing a model where part- to full-time supervisors serve multiple behavioral healthcare providers to increase both the quality of supervision and the number of interns receiving support. 4) Behavioral Health Workforce Training focuses on investments in cross-agency and agency-supported training to alleviate training pressure on community-based providers. 5) Behavioral Health Apprenticeship Pathways grows an apprenticeship model within Pierce County tied to behavioral health workforce pathways. Thanks to partnership and investment from Pierce County, we will put these workforce development strategies into practice beginning in 2024.
Our Equity Journey
WorkForce Central is committed to building more equitable systems and anti-racist practices. We have been on a journey of identifying areas of improvement and implementing changes to reach those goals. In hopes of sharing our experience and encouraging our partners to take a look at their owns systems, we created this Equity Timeline mapping out our process.
Thank you to our partners, funders, and community for support and collaboration in this work for Pierce County residents.