Event Recap: WorkSource Summit 2017

Statewide WorkSource conference with a focus on collaboration and integration

On Friday, December 8, 2017, WorkSource Seattle-King County hosted a statewide summit for staff and partners from across the state of Washington. Gathering at the Seattle Airport Marriot for a daylong conference, teams and individuals shared strategies and inspiration to improve the quality of services provided for community members, and internal collaboration with that goal in mind within the WorkSource system of sites.

Deitra Garrett, Integrated Services Coordinator at WorkSource Rainier, began the morning serving as the Master of Ceremonies. Min Song, interim Chief Operating Officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, led opening remarks, drawing experience from her family to discuss themes of courage and legacy. Finally, Agnes Balassa, a pioneer in improving the efficiencies of workforce systems, discussed the essential ingredients of organizational culture change, and summed up the concept of integrated service delivery in three maxims: 1) All Means All, 2) Free the Cubicle People, and 3) Put the Customer at the Center.

The conference broke into sessions covering a range of topics centered around the themes of “innovation, inspiration, and integration.” Representatives from Spokane and Snohomish counties added state-wide context to the expertise of King County staff and administrators. Sessions ranged in topic and encouraged group participation, revealing a wealth of real-world experience and examples for how to integrate services across functional agencies and design resources centered on human behavior.

At lunch, the keynote speaker, Michael Karl, inspired the room with creative strategies for breaking out of rote habits through his practice as a magician and mentalist. Michael demonstrated a number of canny illusions and talked through the twists and turns of his professional life, proving his skill as a master of playing with and subverting the audience’s expectations.

After lunch, smaller groups discussed general topics in workforce development, including community outreach, culture change, customer input, and service integration. Anne Masters, Training and Resource Coordinator with the WorkSource Seattle-King County Operator Team, led a group discussion with leadership and staff in a question-and-answer session.

Finally, Min Song returned to the stage with Hannah Mello, Strategic Communications Manager at the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, to close the day with a reflection on the courage necessary to leave a legacy of positive change.

Executive leads partnership to produce the next generation of highly skilled aerospace workers


Executive leads partnership to produce the next generation of highly skilled aerospace workers – To help produce the next generation of highly skilled employees that King County’s aerospace industry needs to compete, Executive Dow Constantine and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County announced that $250,000 will be available for high-demand aerospace training.

 King County’s aerospace industry faces a shortage of skilled workers as the current generation prepares for retirement, and there’s a greater need for skill updates as technology in advanced manufacturing quickly advances. At a King County Aerospace Alliance meeting convened by Executive Constantine, local aerospace leaders and workforce developers discussed the new funding for training and other strategies to connect King County adults and youth with high-paying aerospace career opportunities.

 “We have thousands of high-paying, in-demand aerospace jobs that are going unfilled in King County,” said Executive Constantine. “That’s why I’m working with local business and education leaders to connect residents with opportunities and ensure that we have the highly skilled, talented workforce that our region’s aerospace industry must have to compete.”

Workforce development was the focus of this year’s fall meeting of the King County Aerospace Alliance, which Executive Constantine hosted at South Seattle College’s Georgetown campus. The alliance – which Executive Constantine created in 2012 – unites local jurisdictions, businesses and labor to support the local aerospace industry, which employs 56,000 King County residents and another 75,000 in related fields.

The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) is a nonprofit workforce think-tank and grant-making organization whose mission is to support a strong economy and the ability of each person to achieve self-sufficiency. Funded through federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act dollars, the WDC’s Sector Partnership National Emergency Grant uses sector strategies to create coordinated, demand-driven efforts to train and employ recently laid-off workers.

“The leadership exemplified by Executive Constantine and aerospace industry partners has been integral to our ability to identify workforce gaps and develop effective industry-driven solutions,” says Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County.

Interested organizations may apply electronically until 5:00pm on Friday, November 6, 2015. Please visit http://www.seakingwdc.org/careers-and-funding-opportunities/ for additional information about this fantastic opportunity.

WDC Announces Award for Health Workforce for the Future


The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) announces a $9.4 Million Five Year Award– The WDC is thrilled to announce a $9.4 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Profession Opportunity Grant for the WDC’s Health Workforce for the Future (HWF) project.

The mission of the WDC is to support a strong economy and the ability of each person to achieve self-sufficiency. Under the direction of the WDC, HWF will help to build the healthcare workforce needed as healthcare workers near retirement age and King County’s population becomes increasingly more diverse. Leveraging the strong partnerships with Washington State Employment Security Department, Department of Social and Health Services, regional healthcare employers, local colleges, housing authorities, and community partners, HWF is poised to transform King County’s healthcare system.

Using system-changing lessons learned from the WDC’s Health Careers for All five-year project, HWF will leverage, redesign, and enhance existing training program strategies. This project will target outreach to (1) individuals who remain unemployed, or have tenuous connections to the workforce, despite the improving regional economy. In order to ensure true momentum on a career path is possible, this project will also focus on (2) incumbent workers in need of support for wage and career progression.  Finally, the project will target (3) low-income youth who are critical to the future workforce but remain even more disconnected from the labor force.

Industry partners report that the push of healthcare reform toward a more prevention-oriented focus, changes in the economic model of healthcare, and demographic shifts in the patient population put new demands on the health workforce. Accordingly, local employers have emerging priorities around increasing workforce diversity, and expect growth beyond what labor market data alone might predict in many areas. HWF is designed to respond to these needs with an emphasis on occupational pathways and an explicit focus on engaging a diverse customer population.

“Despite King County’s incredible economic growth, many jobseekers have been left behind,” Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “Health Workforce for the Future draws upon industry-driven workforce solution to support King County jobseekers and workers. Our innovative work and strong employer partnerships in this field are unparalleled, and we are excited to build upon this foundation.”

“Group Health Cooperative has a long history of working collaboratively with WDC of Seattle-King County to support workforce needs for the changing health care environment and has enjoyed many successes as a result of our partnership,” says Barbara Trehearne, Vice President of Clinical Excellence, Quality, and Nursing Practice at Group Health Cooperative. “We are pleased to continue partnering on this exciting project.”

“Health Workforce for the Future is a fantastic opportunity to offer TANF jobseekers access to health care careers in King County, and we are thrilled to be a part of this project,” says Melanie d’Almada Remedios, Region 2 WorkFirst Coordinator at the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

“The Employment Security Department values its partnership with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County and looks forward to working together to connect job seekers with high-quality jobs in the health care field,” said Greta Kaas-Lent, Northwest Regional Director for ESD’s Workforce and Career Development Division. “As this sector evolves, we will continue to work together to arm job seekers across the spectrum with training and development opportunities to prepare them for jobs in our state’s health care industry.”



The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) is proud to announce that CEO Marléna Sessions has joined the National Association of Veteran Serving Organizations (NAVSO) Board of Directors.

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WDC releases RFQ #15-02 for Ticket to Work program

The Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Seattle-King County announces the release of RFQ #15-02 to solicit services from organizations to deliver services to Ticket to Work program participants in the WorkSource Seattle-King County system through the WDC’s Employment Network for a one year contract.  All RFQ responses are due to the WDC by March 19, 2015 at 5:00pm (PDT).  EEO/ADA

Click here to read the RFQ.

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