As we continue to navigate COVID-19 together, WorkForce Central is committed to providing the best service possible to our partners and community during this uncertain time. Our top priority is the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, business partners, job seekers, and community.

In response to COVID-19, we are providing links to resources, a listing of partners and affiliate sites that are temporarily closed, and a listing of events and activities that are cancelled or postponed. Our team will continue to make updates to these lists as more information becomes available.

Last updated: 4/06/2020 at 3:25pm

INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES

A list of reliable resources to stay informed on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak in our area.

SITUATIONAL UPDATES

RESOURCES FOR THE COMMUNITY

If you are facing financial strain or hardships due to COVID-19, the following resources are available to help.

  • Unemployment Benefits
  • Legal Assistance
  • Financial Support
  • Education & Childcare
  • Food & Supplies

This video update from the WA Employment Security Department addresses concerns and new information regarding employees on standby, “waiting week”, and gig workers.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
  • Given the current public health crisis and the temporary shutdown of non-essential businesses across our state, the Economic Security Department made changes to increase access to unemployment benefits, including the following. For more details, visit esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19
    • If you are laid off work as a result of the governor’s stay home order issued on March 23, you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
    • Work search requirements are optional for all claimants until further notice.
    • You can request standby status for up to 12 weeks.
    • The one-week waiting period to be eligible for unemployment benefits is waived.
  • Due to high demand for Unemployment Insurance (UI) services, the ESD has provided a new option for customers to get help with setting up a SAW account. An hour long Webex meeting will be held Tuesday, March 24 through Friday, March 27 at 3pm each day to provide information on creating SAW accounts, filing claims, and more.
  • Scenarios & Benefits Available for employees affected by COVID-19. Provided by the Employment Security Department.
  • Unemployment Information Webinar by the Employment Security Department walks WA residents through the services available and how to access them
  • WorkSource Pierce’s list of information for workers
  • Find free public wifi within Pierce County here. Please note that these networks are held by different organizations, and therefore have varying levels of security. Use at your own risk.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE
FINANCIAL SUPPORT
EDUCATION & CHILDCARE
FOOD & SUPPLIES

RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES

We are diligently working on identifying available resources for local business and affected employees in an effort to address business and workforce losses, and will update this list as additional resources are identified.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is in effect April 1, and includes enhancements to FMLA and emergency paid leave for eligible employees for coronavirus related issues.
Click here to download and view the full-size poster

INFORMATION & RESOURCES
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
  • Pierce County Connected: COVID-19 Emergency Fund is a joint effort between United Way of Pierce County and Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. This fund supports organizations providing services to address urgent needs and the disruption of basic human services to Pierce County’s most vulnerable populations due to COVID-19 and the necessary public health measures to address it. Learn more here.
  • Small Business Assistance’s Economic Injury Disaster loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.  These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.  These resources will assist local businesses to keep their workforce and stay in business. Businesses are encouraged to apply online whether they believe they are eligible or not.
  • City of Tacoma: City of Tacoma COVID19 Stabilization Loan Program with loans up to $15,000
    Due to the negative economic impact COVID-19 and mandatory shutdowns are having on small businesses, the City of Tacoma will be offering small loans that require no repayment for a year. Loan payments will be deferred for 12 months after loan closing. This means that if your business is approved for a loan and we close in April 2020, you will not have to make any monthly payments until April 2021. During that time, interest will accrue on the loan.

    • Must be a small business with 10 or fewer employees who have a physical establishment (home-based businesses are not eligible) within Tacoma City limits.
    • The business must have been operating in Tacoma for at least a year.
    • The business must be able to document a significant loss in revenue/sales due to COVID-19.
  • Pierce County: Emergency Small Business Relief Loan Program Loans up to $10,000
    Pierce County small businesses who have experienced significant economic injury as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for this loan program if they meet the below criteria. This loan program enacted by the Pierce County Council is a direct action to keep businesses in operation and protect jobs threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Business must be physically located in unincorporated Pierce County
    • Have 10 or fewer employees (including the business owner)
    • Be in operation for one or more years
    • Demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in revenues attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The Association of Washington Business’ list of resources for businesses, including loans, grants, Insurance, tax information, telecommuting resources and more..
EMPLOYEE LEAVE
  • Restaurant Employee Relief Fund supplies grants to be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment. Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria. Learn more here.
  • SharedWork is a voluntary business sustainability program that provides flexibility to retain employees at reduced hours. The linked page gives an overview showing how thousands of Washington employers have used the SharedWork program to:
    • Support business stability
    • Retain skilled workers
    • Reduce payroll costs
    • Be a smart alternative to layoffs
    • Explore training programs that develop workforce skills
    To get more information about the SharedWork program,
    go to: www.esd.wa.gov/SharedWork
  • On March 18, 2020 Representative Derek Kilmer voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. If passed, his federal bill would provide expansion of paid leave. Requires employers to allow workers to accrue sick leave up to 14 days in the event of a public health emergency.  It proposes a cap on the amount of financial assistance.  For sick leave – $511.00 per day ($130,000 annual wage); for family leave – to $200.00 per day ($75,000 annual wage).
  • Washington State Department of Commerce reported there may be a ruling this afternoon (3/18) regarding expanding and/or limiting restrictions on access to unemployment benefits (such as waiving the one week waiting period).  Some employers have reported their employees have been denied benefits.  They are encouraged to apply again.

CLOSURES

EVENTS

  • JobFest has been rescheduled to Monday, June 1
  • Hire253 has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 25
  • WorkSource Pierce: The WorkSource Center will be closed to the public until further notice. Virtual services will be available during its closure.
  • WorkForce Central: Due to the “Stay at Home” order issued by Governor Inslee, WorkForce Central offices are closed to the public. WorkForce Central staff will continue to work remotely and will continue to respond to emails and phone calls.
  • Pierce County Library System: All locations are now completely closed to the public, including public programming and public meeting rooms, until further notice.
  • Tacoma Public Library: All locations will close effective Saturday, March 14.
  • Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS): All events have been cancelled, DVR offices, and most facilities remain closed. A few in-person services are available in CSO lobbies for a limited number of customers to pick up,including :
    • An EBT card, when the individual has general delivery mail services only and for certain expedited food recipients. All other EBT cards will be mailed from the vendor or through a local office mail process.
    • Emergency support services, when mailing those services is not an option. Full services are also available by phone through the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233:
  • Goodwill: Will be closing their Work Opportunity Centers, retail stores, and administrative offices until further notice. Employees at administrative locations have been working remotely since April 14, and will continue to do so until offices reopen. Online stores will still be running.
  • Tacoma Community House: Will remain closed until May 4th, 2020 in compliance with the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy emergency order. Clients can maintain scheduled appointments via telephone, texts, and email by contacting caseworker;
  • Emergency Food Network: All locations remain closed, with the exception of limited services being offered at the following locations:
    • St. Leo’s Food Connection
    • Springbrook Mobile
    • My Sister’s Pantr
    • BASH Food Pantry
    • Buckley Kiwanis Food Bank
  • Tacoma Rescue Mission: All services remain open, with the exception of some events not intended for customers.
  • Metropolitan Development Council: The following programs will be operating remotely through at least March 30:
    • Energy Assistance
    • Weatherization
    • Housing
    • Adult Education and Employment
    • Youth Education
    • Child Care Food Program
    • Care Management
    • The Center for Substance Use Recovery
    • Supported Employment
  • Metropolitan Development Council’s 24-hour programs and overnight programs will continue to operate with some changes to limit visitor hours and require health checks for people interacting with the programs. Those programs include:
    • Psychiatric Evaluation and Treatment Center
    • Withdrawal Management
    • Randall Townsend Apartments
    • Avenue Apartments
    • Bethlehem Baptist Church Temporary Shelter
  • Tacoma Housing Authority: Most community programming in their facilities will be suspended through at least April 1, with the exception of partners who provide essential services.
  • Metro Parks Tacoma: All programs (including indoor, outdoor, and volunteer parties) and facility rentals will be canceled, and facilities (including marinas, zoos, animal parks, museums, and community centers) will be closed. Customers will be assisted over the phone.
    • Exceptions to Marina closure: Public boat launch, locker tenants will have continued access
    • Parks are maintained and open through normal hours
  • Department of Retirement Systems: Offices will be closed to in-person visits and onsite service as of Tuesday, March 17.
  • Catholic Community Services Nativity House: As of Tuesday, March 17, only overnight guests will be able to enter the building. Daytime guests will be served meals outside on the deck, and will be encouraged to disperse after receiving meals.
  • K-12 Schools: All public and private K–12 schools in Washington state are closed through April 24.
  • Clover Park Technical College: All buildings will be closed to the public, including the Student Leadership & Service Center and The Fitness Center through at least April 24, 2020. Labs may be allowed if social distancing guidelines are followed. Follow updates from CPTC here.
  • Bates Technical College: Effective March 17, until further notice, the college will be open to the public with minimal staff Monday – Friday, 7:30 am – 3:30 pm. Specific departments and offices have various open hours, those who are open will be practicing social distancing measures.
  • University of Washington: Spring Quarter will be conducted remotely, and on its scheduled start date. Residence halls, along with limited dining services, remain available to students who need to reside on campus. All students who remain in campus housing will be required to stay in residence halls or apartments with private bathrooms to limit shared hygienic spaces and encourage social distancing. Answers to any questions about these arrangements can be found on the school’s website.
  • Tacoma Community College: Campuses will be closed to students and the public until further notice, but will be accessible through remote services. The Bookstore remains open for drive-through.
  • Pierce Transit: Fare Collection, Office Centers, and Bus Centers are closed to the public. Transit will be running on a severely reduced schedule. Customer service is available by phone.