IMPACT2 IMPACTheadlinephotoJan2017 

We Can’t Afford to Lose Our Youth

Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 face an unemployment rate more than twice as high as the overall rate. An estimated 5.25 million youth nationwide are connected to neither work nor schooling, representing nearly a third of the unemployed labor force.

These concerns led the Campaign for Youth—a nationwide effort to connect youth with opportunities—to update its policy agenda and investment strategy this year.

We can’t afford to lose the next generation of talent. That’s why WorkForce Central is proud to sign on as official partners
and supporters of the strategies laid out by the campaign, including:

  1. Make reconnecting our youth a national priority.
  2. Build on the strengths of young people and involve them in finding solutions for their generation.
  3. Invest in high-need communities
  4. Create opportunities for work experiences that are relevant to careers and have real world application.
  5. Create pathways to financial independence and social mobility.
  6. build state and local capacity to expand effective high-quality, evidence-based programming.

Programs like Career Day and Summer Jobs 253—mentioned below—are just two examples of many programs we support to reach youth. As we grow these programs and others like them, we’re investing in youth and lifting our economy
for years to come.

We're Different. So is Our Data.

Pierce County gets lumped into the greater Seattle metropolitan area for statistics on everything from sports to median income. But we differ considerably from our neighbors to the north. That’s why it is important to drill down into statistics like the job index and economic numbers to draw out the most relevant information.

With the right information, decisions about policy and programs can be more targeted and ultimately more effective. That’s why WorkForce Central is fighting this shortage of Pierce-specific data by producing employment reports like the one found here.

In 2016, we also dug deep into the top local industries to study workforce supply and demand. Armed with the most relevant data ever, we’re helping the community make better, more informed choices about growth and investment.



Construction Partnership Hosts Largest Career Day EVER

Growing at 3.6 percent annually and clocking in as Pierce County’s fastest growing sector, employers in the construction industry could hardly afford to take a day off. But neither could they afford to neglect planning for their future workforce.

That’s why 131 construction, trades and other employers set their tools aside on November 17 to participate in Pierce County Career Day—the largest career day in Washington state. And this year, we broke all previous attendance records: more than 2,200 students participated!

Career Day goes beyond construction and introduces high school students to career paths in manufacturing, engineering, utilities, aerospace and other STEM- and trades-related careers too. Some of this year’s exhibitors included Tom Boy Tools, Magnum Crane Service and the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC).

We express our sincere appreciation to all of the volunteers, sponsors and vendors who make Career Day a success.

Interested in being part of the Construction Partnership? Contact Ellie Chambers Grady at

 Partner Feature: Summer Jobs 253

The words “summer vacation” bring back memories of road trips, fun with family and friends, and some of the worst-paid, most thankless jobs we’ll ever have. Nowadays, we want our students to set their sights higher. We want their summers to be memorable and meaningful.

Summers are a great time to teach students about career paths, and thanks to the willing cooperation of 67 local employers, we were able to do precisely that during summer 2016—our fourth year partnering on the Summer Jobs 253 program.

The City of Tacoma—at the direction of Mayor Marilyn Strickland—founded Summer Jobs 253 in 2013. This year, a total of 172 students participated. Not only did the students benefit from on-the-job employment experience and a wage, they also had the opportunity to earn up to two high school credits.

Some students also earned college credits, thanks to a partnership with Tacoma Community College and the Microsoft Institute Training program. If you know a Tacoma-based high school sophomore or junior who might want to participate in summer 2017, send them to


Degree or No Degree? That is the Question.

Did you know there are dozens of jobs in Pierce County that pay great annual wages without requiring a four-year degree? raining programs like apprenticeships, certificate programs and military experience provide pathways for great careers hether or not you have a college degree. Here are a few examples: