WorkForce Central has been on a journey since 2018 to bring more equity and diversity into the Pierce County Workforce Development System.

We have approached this goal in a number of ways, from outreach to our underrepresented communities through the formation of the Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force to updating policies and procedures and bringing in system partners to focus on serving our local communities of color.

Internally, our staff has taken steps to increase their knowledge and understanding of DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion) work by participating in an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)®, cultural podcast discussions and book groups, and other learning opportunities. We revised our Personnel Policies to include equal time off for all employees, regardless of position, experience, or tenure. We’ve also made lived experience a valued priority, giving it equal weight to professional and educational experience in our hiring. Below is a timeline of our journey showing all steps, big and small.

Our Journey to Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion

  • November 2018

    Community Engagement

    WorkForce Central funded positions to support the creation of a community engagement team. The team created the Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force and associated programs.

  • July 2019

    Community Engagement Task Force Created

    The Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force was established. The Task Force stands with the community to tackle our toughest workforce challenges and is proactively seeking peoples’ stories, building trust, and creating hope as we strive to redesign services and systems in which no one is pushed aside or left behind.

  • March 2020

    Hybrid Work Model

    A new hybrid work model was implemented at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic giving all WorkForce Central staff the option to work from home or from the office, depending on what works for their schedules and family circumstances.

  • April 2020

    WorkSource Pierce Website Self-Referral Forms

    Options were added for customers visiting the WorkSource Pierce website to self-refer to a program. By filling out a self-referral form on the website, they will be contacted by a program representative to assess needs and discuss next steps for their career pathway.

  • April 2020

    Accessibility Tool for Websites

    An accessibility tool was added to the WorkSource Pierce and WorkForce Central websites. This feature allows users with visual impairments to better access information with options to increase or decrease font size and change colors to grayscale, high contrast, negative contrast, and light background.

  • June 2020

    Juneteenth Holiday for Staff

    WorkForce Central recognizes the importance of equity and diversity in all ways including Federal Holidays. Therefore, we added Juneteenth to our schedule of paid holidays for all staff.

  • June 2020

    Virtual Job Fairs

    Hire Pierce County Virtual Job Fairs began on a virtual platform to reach job seekers while in-person events were not possible during the pandemic. The events continue virtually as an effective way to connect businesses and job seekers into open positions.

  • August 2020

    Equity Resources Libraries

    Resource libraries were created for staff members to gain access to information for DEAI work. A physical library was set up at the WorkForce Central office with books on the subject of equity. A digital library is also available to staff members to share information and articles with each other around Social Justice and Equity.

  • October 2020

    Speakers Bureau

    The Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force Speaker’s Bureau was formed offering speakers who have lived experience with homelessness and other challenges to organizations and agencies for presentations. Speakers are compensated for each speaking engagement.

  • October 2020

    IDI Assessment

    Each employee participated in an Intercultural Development Inventory, which is a statistically reliable, cross-culturally valid measure of intercultural competence. The assessment was followed up with individual coaching sessions with an equity coach.

  • December 2020

    Equity Coaching

    WorkForce Central staff members began participating in one-on-one equity coaching sessions to work toward equity goals

  • January 2021

    Job Description Updates

    Job descriptions used for hiring were updated to include lived experience as qualifying factors instead of only educational degrees. WFC also encourages its business customers to do the same when hiring for open positions.

  • January 2021

    PCCETF Online Equity Library/Resources

    The Task Force website added a section of online resources toward anti-racism and DEAI education work. It offers lists of online videos, books, and other resource checklists on helping individuals and employers with their own equity journey.

  • February 2021

    RFP Evaluation Criteria

    Evaluation criteria for Request for Proposals (RFPs) were updated to include applicants’ history and plan for working with diverse and hard-to-reach populations, organizational policies and practices that promote equity and access, staff equity and anti-racist training, and diversity of organizational leadership and staff.

  • February 2021

    RFP Announcements To Minority Service Organizations

    Requests for Proposals (RFPs) posting was expanded to include the Tacoma Minority Business Development Agency, the WA Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises, and as many Pierce County-based organizations as possible. RFP announcements and RFPs encourage smaller and less experienced organizations to submit proposals, whenever possible.

  • February 2021

    Lens of Equity Mini-Series

    The four-part series hosted by our Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force covered how promoting DEAI (diversity, equity, access, and inclusion) in an organization can serve the community, how we can increase access, and how we can keep a DEAI lens at the forefront of what we do. Over 100 individuals attended each session of the mini-series.

  • March 2021

    Supporting Women of Color in the Workplace

    This event featured a panel of women and a male ally who shared their experiences and perspectives on challenges faced professionally in the workplace; and how those situations could have gone differently. More than 115 people attended the event.

  • March 2021

    Staff Review/Evaluation Process

    The annual employee review process was changed to focus on professional development and goal achievement instead of ranking quality of work on a scale.

  • May 2021

    Contracts Align with Social Justice Values

    Expectation that organizations will align with WorkForce Central’s social justice values was added to contracts.

  • May 2021

    Mental Health First Aid

    Staff attended a training session focused on how they can identify and help those around them struggling with mental health issues.

  • June 2021

    Collaboration for a Cause

    The Pierce County Community Engagement Task Force joined with Goodwill to organize recurring large-scale collaborative distribution events to provide much-needed resources and services to areas in Pierce County still struggling from the pandemic. These events continue to happen across Pierce County quarterly.

  • June 2021

    The Corner

    A new recurring video series, The Corner, was created, offering an opportunity to introduce various partners and highlight all the great work going on in our community today.

  • July 2021

    RFP Technical Review

    The technical review process for Request for Proposals was changed to a more equitable process. Instead of eliminating proposals that don’t meet submission requirements, we now alert organizations to errors and give three working days to correct and re-submit proposals.

  • August 2021

    Vacation & PTO Equity

    WorkForce Central changed its policy to provide equal accrual of vacation and PTO hours to all employees, no matter their tenure with the organization. Changes went into effect January 2022.

  • August 2021

    Lunch and Learn

    A series of ongoing bi-monthly lunch and learn opportunities began for staff and partners to engage in discussions around diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.

  • August 2021

    Seeing White Podcast

    Staff began participating in cohorts covering the Seeing White Podcast with weekly discussions about racism and DEAI education.

  • August 2021

    Facilitation Training

    Staff members began training and coaching sessions to use results-based facilitation; a collective impact facilitation model, that supports groups to move from talk to action and reach collaborative results.

  • August 2021

    Translation on Website

    A translation feature was added to the WorkSource Pierce website allowing users to view the information in 17 different languages other than English. An existing translation feature on the WorkForce Central website was updated at the same time to include more languages and to be more visible.

  • August 2021

    Support for New Contractors

    Began providing additional technical assistance and support to new contractors who have less experience and infrastructure to effectively manage performance, reporting, and fiscal requirements that accompany federal funding.

  • September 2021

    PCCETF Guest Speakers

    The structure of Task Force Meetings was expanded to feature a special guest speaker at each meeting who shares information on cultural diversity, local initiatives, events, organizations, educational material, and more.

  • October 2021

    Survey to Public Website

    A feedback survey was added to the WorkSource Pierce website allowing users to indicate the ease of access to information on the site and give specific information about any difficulties accessing information. This feedback informs ongoing updates to the website structure and how information is shared.

  • November 2021

    Professionally Facilitated Me & White Supremacy Book Club

    WorkForce Central staff held a professionally facilitated book club focused on the book “Me & White Supremacy.” Additional book clubs are held based on staff interest.

  • April 2022

    Universal Intake Form

    A Universal Intake Form was created to decrease the number of times that Collaboration For a Cause participants have to write down their personal information when navigating between partnering organizations. This assists the providers with speeding up the referral process through direct connections of the clients being served.

  • April 2022

    Inclusive vs. Deficit Language

    WorkForce Central staff held discussions about the use of deficit language, identifying commonly-used terms that may need to be changed to promote inclusivity and help us serve from a human-centered approach.

  • July 2022

    Wage Equity

    In an effort to be more equitable among its employees and offer competitive wages, WorkForce Central implemented a new salary structure which pays every employee in the same job classification the same wage. Salary increases will be made across the board based on market research or Cost of Living increases, but will be uniform in its administration.

  • July 2022

    The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together Book Club

    WorkForce Central staff began a book club focused on the book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together”.

  • May 2023

    Lens of Equity Summit

    The first annual Lens of Equity Summit was held to teach organizations, businesses, and individuals how to be action-oriented in implementing equity work. Specific and practical steps were outlined in presentations, workshops, and educational resources to show how to start implementing true DEAI work and effect greater change in Pierce County.


We hope by sharing our journey it will inspire our partners to look at their own organizations and identify ways they too can bring more equity and diversity to their processes.  This timeline is just the first iteration of our journey. We continue to review and evaluate our work and strive to be better than the day before.

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