The Washington Workforce Association (WWA) is a nonprofit non-partisan membership organization of the twelve Workforce Development Councils (WDC) of Washington State. The twelve WDCs are business led boards that coordinate and leverage workforce investments and strategies with stakeholders from education, economic development, labor and community based organizations to advance the economic health of their respective communities through a skilled and competitive workforce.

WDCs are certified by the Governor of Washington State with agreement from local elected officials under the requirements of the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which calls for a comprehensive system to provide America with a highly skilled workforce that competes in the global economy.

WWA provides information, training, tools, and recommendations to policy makers, workforce development professionals, Workforce Development Council members, and the community at large to help make informed decisions about how to invest in workforce strategies. WWA works in partnership with other statewide, regional and national organizations advocating for a coordinated, funded system focused on the needs of job seekers and businesses.




Employment Security Department #20-017

Kevin Perkey, Workforce Southwest Washington chief executive officer, 503-902-2975
Eleni Papadakis, Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board executive director, 360-507-3161
Tim Probst, Employment Security Department grants management director, 360-790-4913

Washington wins federal grant to support economic recovery from COVID-19

OLYMPIA - Unemployed workers throughout Washington will get jobs to help the state address and recover from the COVID-19 disaster, receive training for in-demand careers and get targeted help with their job search.

The $12 million disaster recovery grant from the U.S. Department of Labor also will help the state's workforce system adapt to providing services virtually during and after the pandemic.

The grant will:

  • Place laid-off workers into jobs to respond to or mitigate effects of the COVID-19 disaster, including positions in emergency management; treatment and quarantine area set-up; unemployment claims intake; behavioral and developmental health, custodial services; delivery; food banks, shelters, and social and human services.

  • Provide more workers with:

    • Career coaches to help create customized re-employment plans.
    • Immediate help with job search and placement into jobs on the state's COVID-19 essential jobs list and other high-demand occupations.
    • Short-term job readiness training for laid-off workers.
    • Longer-term training to help people enter secure careers as the economy recovers.

  • Provide equipment, connectivity and training to help the state's workforce system adapt to virtual services.

The grant will prioritize help for people of color, those who are low income, and those who live in rural areas. The Employment Security Department, the Washington Workforce Association and the Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board, which wrote the grant together, currently are determining exactly how many people the $12 million will serve, but all agree the grant will kick start the state's efforts.

"These funds will help Washington begin its pivot from disaster response to economic recovery," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "Washington was among only six states that received $12 million - the highest amount awarded. We're planning ahead and will apply for more grants to keep cranking up our economic engines."

"Like any good economic recovery plan, ours applies short- and long-term strategies," said Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine. "Our first-rate workforce development system will employ some people immediately and train others for jobs of the future."

The Employment Security Department will distribute the money using a formula based partly on the number of unemployed people in each of the state's 12 Workforce Development Areas. ESD and the state's Workforce Development Councils expect the money to be available soon.

"The need out there is so great, and we're committed to working with our partners to help Washington's businesses and workers survive these difficult times," said Kevin Perkey. Perkey is chief executive officer of the Workforce Southwest Workforce Development Council and president of the Washington Workforce Association, which represents the 12 WDCs.

"The stakeholders who came together to support this grant, including the Association of Washington Business, Washington State Labor Council, and other state and local agencies made the difference," said Eleni Papadakis, executive director the Washington's Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board. "Together, we see a future that banks on all Washingtonians accessing a route to economic security."

People who have lost their job through no fault of their own are eligible to benefit under the grant rules. If interested, they should contact their local WorkSource center via phone or email. All WorkSource offices currently are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.




OLYMPIA - Starting Wed., March 18, 2020 the WorkSource offices across Washington State (American Job Centers) will be closed for in-person customer service and will be adopting a virtual-only customer service model until the science and health guidance suggests it is safe to re-open for direct service.

"Community is at the heart of every WorkSource center across our state and improving the well-being of our customers - both individuals seeking employment opportunities and businesses seeking talent - is what drives us and all of the partners in the WorkSource centers," shared Suzi LeVine, Commissioner for the Washington Employment Security Department. "Typically, that is a focus on customers' economic well-being. The COVID-19 outbreak, however, demands that we also take into account our customers' physical well-being. Therefore, this decision to move to an all-virtual service delivery model allows us to care for and address both customers' economic and health considerations."

Right now, the demand for employment support services is increasing dramatically - with many people losing their jobs at the same time certain industries need to quickly ramp up their staff. In light of this, there is a profound need to rethink and retool how that economic and employment support is provided to local communities while, at the same time, considering public health.

"Over the next few days, each regional Workforce Development Board, in close partnership with Employment Security Department and other local partners, will assess and adapt their service delivery models to maximize their customers' and staff's health, safety and economic wellbeing in this changing landscape," shared Kevin Perkey, Chairman of the Washington Workforce Association and Chief Executive Officer of Workforce Southwest Washington.

"We don't know what the future may bring, but we aim to be prepared for whatever may come," LeVine concluded.

Please stay tuned for more information on our adapted services. You can find more information about your local WorkSource office at




Click here for COVID-19 resources and links from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Click here for a Webinar called Introduction to Unemployment Insurance




We are excited to share news of an agreement recently instituted recognizing one of our vital partnerships in the workforce development system. The Employment Security Department and local Workforce Development Council Executives have memorialized their commitment to a strong and effective system focused on improving opportunities for all. As indicated by each of the WWA Board of Directors' signatures, we are poised, ready, and proud to share this agreement with you. Please view the agreement here.

To heartily express our values and priorities, WWA outgoing chair, Linda Nguyen of Workforce Central, and Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine, recorded a video celebrating this commitment. Please view that video here.

Strong partnerships such as these are cornerstones in the foundation of our valuable work. Establishing and maintaining relationships with key workforce practitioners allows us all to offer greater solutions to those we serve, and value to those who entrust us to be good stewards.

With great appreciation to all, we continue moving forward in our work.

-Sandra Miller, Executive Director of Washington Workforce Association


The Washington Workforce Association is soliciting product demonstrations of field-proven management information systems in workforce development for implementation in the WorkSource system of the state of Washington. This Request for Information (RFI) is issued as a means of technical discovery, information gathering, and for the purpose of determining market capability/availability of sources. Key deliverables for the solution include case management, operational management, local, state, and federal reporting, and customer relationship management (CRM) developed through and for the workforce development system.

Click here to find out more.



Kevin Perkey A change in several leadership roles is coming to the Washington Workforce Association (WWA) in the new year.

Outgoing WWA Chair Linda Nguyen announced in March that she will retire from WorkForce Central, and her two-year run as Chairwoman of WWA comes to a close at the end of 2019. The organization announced recently that Kevin Perkey will serve as its next Chair: Perkey, CEO of Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), will take the reins starting Jan. 1, 2020.

Prior to joining WSW, Perkey was CEO of South Central Pennsylvania Works, a regional workforce development board investing more than $12 million of public workforce investment resources annually across an eight-county region of South Central, Pennsylvania. Perkey serves on the boards of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, Cowlitz Economic Development Council, and Mount St. Helens Institute and on the STEM Network Governance Committee and the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Workforce Development Council (serving as Co-Chair of their Policy Committee).

“The world of work is changing every day. Advances in technology, emerging markets for new businesses of all types and sizes, changing worker preferences and values around work/life balance, and multi-generational workplaces all influence the future direction of workforce development,” Perkey said.

Kevin Perkey“I’m grateful to follow in the footsteps of many of my WWA colleagues, helping shape the future of innovative and high-impact workforce development investments across the state of Washington. I look forward to continuing our work as we support the growth and competitiveness of our state.”

Outgoing Chair Nguyen has been with WorkForce Central since 1991 and has served as its CEO since 2007. She has served as WWA Chair for the past two years and is a board member of the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board, United Way of Pierce County, the Washington Economic Development Association, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as Chairwoman for WWA. Working alongside all of my peers and partners to further system integration has resulted in improved customer access to services and sustained economic health throughout Washington State,” Nguyen said.

WWA also recently named a new Executive Director, who took the helm Oct. 28. Sandra Miller comes with a professional career spanning more than 30 years in the hospitality, retail and workforce development industries. She has served as Vice President for Intercontinental Investments, a hospitality holding company where she led all aspects of the company’s operations. Her experience also includes Business and Community Engagement for Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council and co-ownership of g. miller-Olympia, a premier retailer of finer menswear in the city’s downtown core.

Miller has served on the Governor’s Poverty Reduction Work Group, Washington Lodging Association, Thurston Economic Development Council, Experience Olympia and Beyond, and Community Youth Services. She is a past recipient of a Woman of Achievement for Social Justice Award from the YWCA of Olympia and has been recognized as a Woman of Influence by Business Examiner.

“The Washington Workforce Association has been a stellar and effective steward of the workforce system in our state and it is an honor to represent the Board of Directors as we continue this valuable work,” Miller said. “They are passionate, heart-driven leaders who work tirelessly so that all Washingtonians have the opportunity to thrive. I am thrilled to be working with such a fine group of workforce development professionals.”

In addition, Tiffany Scott will take over as WWA’s Vice-Chair for Jack Fitzgerald, CEO of South Central Workforce Council.

Scott, CEO of Benton-Franklin Workforce Development Council, has 20 years of workforce development experience that she will bring to her new role. Scott, a self-described change agent, believes innovation is done best within partnerships. Along with incoming Chair Perkey, Scott said she plans to build upon past accomplishments to work together to guide the vision of WWA, creating an even stronger Washington.

Erin Monroe, CEO of Workforce Snohomish, will continue to serve as WWA Treasurer in 2020. Monroe is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 25 years of business, accounting and auditing experience in the private and public sectors and 10 years of workforce development experience. She joined Workforce Snohomish as Chief Financial Officer in 2009 and was promoted to CEO in 2014, where she continues to direct her passion towards working with strategic partnerships to help people get jobs and employers fill jobs.


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