WorkForce Central offers innovative worker-training programs
Finding and retaining workers is a huge challenge for Pierce County employers. WorkForce Central offers strategies, solutions and resources to address today’s workforce needs – all at no cost to businesses.
New and innovative programs offered through WorkForce Central’s Business Solutions team, and broader access to services, are bridging the gap between employers and job seekers to build a thriving workforce pipeline and boost economic vitality across the South Sound.
Retaining a competitive workforce
According to the National Skills Coalition, jobs that require skills training are the backbone of our economy and help businesses sustain growth. More important, these jobs offer a path to opportunities and greater equity in the workplace. But small and mid-sized businesses often lack the tools necessary to develop a pipeline of skilled workers or upskill incumbent workers.
Enter WorkForce Central’s new Employer Reskill/Upskill Fund. Businesses can access up to $30,000 to cover the cost of employee training and development programs needed to retain a competitive workforce. This a 10, 25 or 50 percent reimbursement-based grant, depending on the size of your company. The fund also helps companies avert layoffs.
“We’ve taken a great deal of time to look at the talent pipeline and determine what employers can do to retain and upskill workers,” said Teresa Delicino, Senior Director of WorkForce Central Business Solutions. “With this fund, the goal and hope are that employers will upskill employees into potential new positions and wage increases.”
The Reskill/Upskill Fund may be used to cover the cost of training for:
- New tech
- New services/product lines
- Organizational restructuring
Tacoma-based Olympus Services, a minority-owned business that specializes in custom fencing, decking and concrete, used the fund to add a needed competency to its workforce that previously required a workaround or outsourcing. The family-run business was able to streamline worker schedules and free up capital to hire more employees.
For more information about employee development and the Reskill/Upskill Fund, including eligibility and employer requirements, contact the Business Solutions Team.
Pathways to high-demand jobs
Another new WorkForce Central initiative provides industry-specific training that aligns with in-demand occupations in Pierce County. Cohort training offers short-term certification or credentialing that sets job seekers on a path to thriving careers.
Current programs include:
- Manufacturing Academy. WorkSource Pierce has partnered with the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) to offers essential skills training and pave the way to thousands of open, living-wage jobs in the advanced manufacturing industry.
- Waterversity. Water-system operating training is a first step to careers in in the areas of ecology, municipal wastewater and industrial wastewater treatment.
- Introduction to Healthcare Apprenticeship Program (IHAP). Participants earn CNA certification to open doors to a variety of career pathways and opportunities.
Future cohort training programs will focus on Internet Technology training.
Extended services in Pierce County
WorkForce Central has long offered one-stop services at its Tacoma location. But the centralized model doesn’t work for everyone. A new WorkSource Pierce site is being piloted at Puyallup’s South Hill Mall to reach employers and job seekers where they are. The site offers access to nearly all the services offered at the Tacoma location.
“We’re very excited to expand our footprint, access to services and awareness of what we do,” Delicino said. “And we’ll look for additional opportunities to reach more of Pierce County.”
Partnerships make a difference
WorkForce Central will continue to find solutions that support Pierce County employers and connect them with driven job seekers. A big part of that is working with community and industry partners to discuss strategies going forward.
For more information about business services and resources for employers, or to arrange a consultation, visit the WorkForce Central website.
How is the workplace changing? Job seekers want more than signing bonuses, higher wages and enhanced benefits. According to a Glassdoor survey, 77 percent of respondents consider a company’s culture before they apply for a job there, and 56 percent said company culture is more important than salary as it relates to job satisfaction.