Workforce Development Council Recognized as National Pioneer

National Association of Workforce Boards chooses local workforce board as Trailblazer Award winner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 27, 2016

Seattle, Wash. – The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) has been selected to receive the first Trailblazer Award from the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB). Out of the 550 Workforce Investment Boards nationwide, the WDC is being recognized for outstanding practice in planning for and implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The WDC will be honored at NAWB’s Annual Forum in Washington D.C. March 12-15, 2016 as the local board that has made the most progress in adopting the changes envisioned in WIOA and expanding its ability to develop comprehensive workforce solutions for its community.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the detailed research and extensive community participation in implementing WIOA locally,” says Marléna Sessions, chief executive officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “Through sector panels, industry partnerships with local colleges, extensive labor market data, and innovation within the WorkSource Seattle-King County one-stop system, we can pull together all of the pieces necessary to drive the job economy in our area.”

In 2014, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, passing with bipartisan support to create more jobs and increase the skilled labor force across the country from within regional economies. WIOA aims to drive workforce solutions from the local level, looking at business needs and connecting opportunities for worker skill development and providing accessible, one-stop resources to job seekers.

NAWB’s WIOA Trailblazer recognition is a new award focused on implementation of national workforce legislation measuring progress in eight areas: Strategic Planning, Integrated Planning, Sector Initiatives, Governance, One-Stop Services, Business Services, Career Pathways, and Integrated Program Delivery.

Among the many milestones achieved in the area of WIOA implementation, the WDC has hosted community forums to gather input on the WorkSource system; addressed its governance through board appointments that represent a cross section of private sector, labor, adult education, higher education, and economic development; and made strides in improving business services and defining career pathways.

“In preparation for implementing WIOA in Seattle-King County, the WDC hosted multiple community forums to gather community input addressing some of the opportunities presented by the Act,” says Tom Peterson, WDC board chair.  “Collaboration and participation from these key players helps the WDC bring employers, jobseekers, youth, educators, labor groups and other nonprofits together to find—and fund—solutions to workforce gaps in new ways.”

For more about the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) visit, and read their official announcement of the Trailblazer Award winner online.

Information about WIOA in Seattle-King County, can be seen at For more about the Workforce Development Council, job seeker programs and workforce initiatives, visit or call (206) 448-0474.

The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County is a nonprofit organization that oversees employment-related programs for youth, the adult workforce and employers in King County, with the goal of a strong economy and self-sufficiency for every resident.

Media Contact
Sarah Chavez
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County
206-448-0474 x 3014

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