Press Releases

Workforce Snohomish Receives $314,000 Grant to Strengthen Retail Industry Career Services in Snohomish County

September 7, 2016

Media Contact:
Kathleen Lefcourt, 425-921-3482,

Funding is part of a $10.9 million grant awarded to The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership from the Walmart Foundation

Everett, Washington, Sept. 7, 2016 – Today, the Walmart Foundation announced that Workforce Snohomish has been selected to receive a $314,000 grant from The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) as part of an effort to increase the economic mobility of workers in retail and adjacent sectors in Snohomish County and around the U.S.

Workforce Snohomish is one of 10 Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) selected across the country to collectively form and implement new models of career services specific to retail – models that will serve as best practices for the approximately 550 WDBs in the U.S. that already provide career services, such as career coaching, soft skills training, specialized skills training and referrals to other resources. The funding is part of a $10.9 million grant the Walmart Foundation made to The Partnership in March 2016.

“Our collaborative effort with The Partnership, Snohomish County business leaders and government officials, and the nine other selected WDBs will allow us to foster workforce training innovation in a sector where WDBs have not traditionally focused,” said Erin Monroe, Chief Executive Officer. “With the retail industry supporting one in four American jobs, this grant presents a tremendous potential for impact, from entry-level to middle skills jobs. The goal of this grant is to create clear career pathways in retail for hundreds of workers, providing skills training and new approaches to accelerate career advancement.”

The funding provided to Workforce Snohomish from The Partnership will provide a variety of services to job seekers, including:

  • Job readiness training customized to the retail sector, including helping jobseekers acquire the "soft skills" that are critical for workplace success such as teamwork, leadership, communication and conflict resolution.
  • Job placement assistance, resume writing help and interviewing skills workshops.
  • Post placement services to promote job retention.

Among the services Workforce Snohomish will offer employers are:

  • Serving as a point of contact for retail employers in the area for recruiting and training opportunities, including career tracks such as sales, customer service, logistics, merchandising/buying and management.
  • Customized recruiting and screening and assistance in writing job descriptions for new positions.
  • Employee retention assistance and improving the supply of qualified job candidates.

Approximately 200 people across Snohomish County will benefit from The Partnership grant during the first year.

Workforce Snohomish is partnering with Everett Community College to provide a Retail Management Certificate program that will culminate in an industry recognized credential. Students can earn the Retail Management Certificate in 3 quarters, and can opt to continue to their education towards an Associate of Technical Arts degree in Business Administration that is transferrable to 4-year universities. Retailers have indicated they are very willing to accommodate students’ schedules to allow them to work and participate in the Retail Management program.

Workforce Snohomish has also formed a Retail Advisory Board made up of local retailers including Fred Meyer, Costco, Everett Mall, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Walgreens, Nike Factory Store, PCC Natural Markets, CVS Pharmacy, Coach Outlet, and Bartell Drugs to ensure that local employers are providing input into the program. Retail career fairs and employer panels are also planned.

Snohomish County has over 2,000 retailers resulting in $6.3 billion in taxable retail sales in 2015. The 2015 Washington State Employment Security Department Gap Analysis indicated a significant gap in the supply of appropriate candidates to fill open positions. Employers are especially concerned about recruiting qualified applicants to fill critical upcoming holiday positions.

“As one of the largest provider of jobs for the American workforce, the retail industry presents many opportunities for workers to grow and thrive,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. "Through our work with The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, we are helping ensure that retail workers have the skills, training and education needed to build long-lasting careers."

In February 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed $100 million over five years to strengthen the skills of the broader U.S. workforce by funding programs to create career paths in retail and related industries and train thousands of workers outside of Walmart. The two-year grant to The Partnership is the largest investment to date as part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s Opportunity initiative, which aims to increase the economic mobility of workers in retail and adjacent sectors by working with nonprofits, educational institutions and government agencies to make it easier for frontline workers to move faster into middle skills roles.

Workforce Snohomish is a business-led governing group charged with preparing, supporting, and growing the current and future workforce of Snohomish County. The objective of the Workforce Snohomish board is to inform, align, and advance education, government, business, labor, industry, and community services to work collaboratively to address workforce needs.

For more information about the grant awarded to the Workforce Snohomish, visit

Learn more about Workforce Snohomish at

Click to download PDF a version of this press release.

WorkSource Lynnwood hosts open house at new location

June 1, 2016

Media Contacts:

Curtis Takahashi, 425-921-3435,
Janelle Guthrie, 360-902-9289 or 360-480-2096,

LYNNWOOD – WorkSource Lynnwood welcomes local businesses, job seekers and others in the community to a ribbon-cutting and open house at its new location on June 6.

Staff will serve light refreshments and provide a tour of the new location, then showcase:

  •— the state’s new job match website powered by
  • Free resources for job seekers and employers
  • Classes and group meetings designed to help job seekers and employers meet their goals

When: 1:30 to 4 p.m. on June 6, 2016

Where: WorkSource Lynnwood, 18009 Hwy 99, Suite A, Lynnwood, WA 98037

Guest speakers include:

  • Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers
  • Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smit
  • Employment Security Department Commissioner Dale Peinecke
  • Workforce Snohomish CEO Erin Monroe

"It is important for us to maintain a strong presence in our south county region,” said Workforce Snohomish CEO Erin Monroe. “We are very pleased with the location and accessibility of our new WorkSource."

“In addition to a newly remodeled space, WorkSource Lynnwood provides job seekers and employers with conveniences including a central location and Wi-Fi access,” said WorkSource Lynnwood Administrator Mike Schulte. “Instead of queuing at a reception desk, customers will be greeted as they enter by staff carrying tablets.”

Individuals who have been laid off from a job, are rethinking their career or are just starting out can go to WorkSource for help searching for work, assessing and building skills, exploring careers and connecting with employers that are hiring. Studies have shown that people who use WorkSource job-search services tend to find work faster and earn more money than those who don’t.

Services for business include candidate recruiting and screening, job fairs and hiring events, training and skills acquisition for existing workers and labor market data.

Trade UP AND
Touch-A-Truck events seeks to inspire future careers in the trades

May 26, 2016
Contact: Emily Wicks, Marysville School District
Communications and Community Relations Coordinator
360-965- 0007 |
Download as PDF

Marysville, WA – Marysville Career & Technical Education (CTE) Juniors and Seniors and Marysville Middle School eighth grade CTE students will receive hands-on education in the engineering, construction, and manufacturing trades on June 2 at the Trade UP AND Touch-A- Truck event at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

The event, made possible through a partnership between Workforce Snohomish, the Snohomish County Labor Council, United Way Snohomish County, and the Marysville School District Career & Technical Education Department allows participating students to spend the day with professionals from more than 10 different industries. Students will have an opportunity to run various types of machinery, operate simulators, and even put on a harness and climb a power pole. Participants will also learn about salaries, benefits, and work expectations in these high demand career fields, and will be required to wear safety gear, complete a time card, and listen to job preparedness criteria. The Snohomish County Labor Council will also be on hand providing information on apprenticeships and training programs available through organized labor.

“Event exhibitors will teach transferable skills to Marysville’s youth in a real-life work environment,” said Workforce Snohomish Chief Executive Officer, Erin Monroe. “The experience of driving a truck or using an engineering simulator can help steer a student toward a career in the growing field of construction and manufacturing.”

The original idea for the program is the vision of Stanwood Mayor Leonard Kelley, who met with Erin Monroe, Executive Director of Workforce Snohomish, earlier this year. Mayor Kelley is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Snohomish County Labor Council and is connected with many Union skills training programs with people who are willing to share extensive knowledge with teens who will be entering into the workforce. "The idea came from bits and pieces I'd heard all over, from the state legislature to Economic Alliance of Snohomish County," Kelley said. "As our county grows, so too does the demand for these types of jobs. Especially since college is not for everybody, we need to show kids how they can live a decent life working in the trades."

A recent analysis of manufacturing activity in the United States using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Snohomish County has the largest increase in manufacturing jobs when compared to other major urban manufacturing communities in the U.S. From 1967 to 2014, Snohomish County manufacturing jobs increased by 276 percent, and the county maintains the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs of any county in the state of Washington.

“The Trade UP AND Touch-a- Truck event is all about getting our students interested, excited, and motivated to pursue a career they love and want to master,” said Marysville School District Career and Technical Education Director, Donneta Oremus. “We are pleased to partner in this effort to provide our students early access to all of the growing career options available to them.”

Participation is limited to 70 high school CTE students from Engineering, Construction, Manufacturing, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), and 50 eighth grade Marysville Middle School students. The event will take place at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Campus on the Fast Pitch Softball 4-plex paved area, gymnasium parking lot, and inside the Jim Linden Fieldhouse. For more information, visit


About the Marysville School District
The Marysville School District seeks to engage our community, inspire our students, and prepare our graduates. We provide not just an adequate education for our children, but an excellent one. It is our belief that every child in our community deserves the very best educational experience possible, and every child has the potential to achieve success in life if given the right tools to do so. Learn more at

About United Way Snohomish County
United Way advances the common good through transforming our community and improving the lives of people in Snohomish County. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity for a good life, so we focus on breaking the cycle of poverty, and creating long-lasting change by addressing the underlying causes of problems. Learn more at

About Snohomish County Labor Council
The Snohomish County Labor Council is a federation of 63 unions in Snohomish County. Those unions represent 42,000 working families for the purpose of bargaining wages/salaries and working conditions with their employers. The Labor Council and its member unions are dedicated to helping workers organize their workplaces so that they are ensured economic justice and dignity. Learn more at

Trade UP Helps Teens Construct Their Futures
2-day program introduces teens to the construction trades

September 15, 2015 (Everett, WA) — Workforce Snohomish, Snohomish County Labor Council, other local organizations have developed Trade UP, a FREE two-day experience to connect teens with area employers and apprenticeship programs. This program will provide youth, 16-18 years old, the opportunity to explore various careers within the growing construction industry. The program participants will also be exposed to the soft skills of employment such as time keeping and work polices.

“Being able to have a real-life, hands-on experience with driving a truck or using an engineering simulator could put a teen onto a potential career path in the growing fields of construction and manufacturing,” explains Erin Monroe, Executive Director of Workforce Snohomish.

Exhibitors to include: The International Union of Operating Engineers, Arlington Fire Department, Stanwood Ready Mix, and others. Additional partners include the City of Arlington Municipal Airport, United Way of Snohomish County, Washington Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Team (WALECET).

Online registration can be found at Participants will also receive up to $75 and certificates of completion. Training will take place at the Arlington Airport located at 18204 59th Drive NE Arlington on September 26 & 27 from 9am-3:30pm.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering or donating to this or future programs should contact Curtis Takahashi – 425-921-3435.

Workforce Snohomish
Workforce Snohomish invests government and private funding to continuously increase the global competitiveness and prosperity of county workforce and businesses, fill current and emerging jobs, and provide full employment. Investments are made through effective business, labor, community-based, educational, and service provider organizations for the opportunity, economic well-being, and benefit of our entire community.


Everett, WA (August 25, 2015) – Workforce Snohomish is pleased to announce it has received a $476,776 grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development program for the Puget Sound Region Ladders of Opportunity Initiative.

The Ladders to Opportunity Initiative brings together eight regional organizations in Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties to develop comprehensive career training, including mechanical and technical skills, and resume building. Targeted outreach to groups such as women, minorities, and native tribes will improve access to apprenticeships, social services, and job placement programs, allowing those underserved communities to participate in the massive growth of transit-related construction in the Puget Sound region.

“This program is designed to create a pipeline of skilled workers ready to enter the construction and transit industries,” explained Erin Monroe, CEO of Workforce Snohomish. “We are very excited about this regional partnership.”

Program partners include Sound Transit, Tulalip Tribes TERO program, City of Tacoma, Apprenticeships and Non-traditional Employment for Women (ANEW), Seattle Vocational Institute, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and Bates Technical College.

About Workforce Snohomish Workforce Snohomish invests government and private funding to continuously increase the global competitiveness and prosperity of our businesses and workforce, to fill current and emerging jobs, and to provide full employment. Our investments are made through effective business, labor, educational, community-based, and service provider organizations for the opportunity, economic well-being, and benefit of our entire community.

About the Federal Transit Administration The FTA’s workforce development project grants will develop or expand strategic partnerships with transit agencies, labor unions, nonprofits, and academic institutions, and some will also support small businesses in the transit sector owned by women and minorities. In addition, several projects will serve as scalable models that can be applied to future projects throughout the United States.


Curtis Takahashi, Workforce Snohomish, Manager of Business Strategy (425) 921-3435 or