Author Archives: mmattke

City Name and Name of Workforce Area:
Spokane Area Workforce Development Council

Contact Person:
Mark Mattke, Chief Executive Officer

Contact Information:

The Honorable David Condon


Sector Strategies

SAWDC Receives Grants from JPMorgan Chase Foundation for Sector Work

The Spokane Area Workforce Development Council (SAWDC), has received two “High Demand Workforce Pipeline” grants totaling $200,000 from JPMorgan Chase Foundation to support the expansion of training and education opportunities in the SAWDC’s Next Generation Zone and to develop a Sector Workforce Roadmaps in five targeted industries.

JPMorgan Chase Foundation, through their New Skills at Work Initiative, seeks to rely upon data-driven analysis to invest $250 million nationwide in workforce training over five years with an aim to build a demand-driven work system. The SAWDC was the local recipient of this effort which will benefit Opportunity Youth (young adults aged 16-21 who are out of school and unemployed and/or not enrolled in school), businesses and the community-at-large. In addition, the Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation will receive two grants totaling $175,000 for program development to support outcomes provided by the SAWDC’s research.

CEO of the SAWDC, Mark Mattke said, “This award is important for our region as it provides critical support to bolster the development of a talent pipeline that fuels continued growth in key industries. We are honored to work with JP Morgan Chase to expand our capacity to serve Opportunity Youth, identify the future workforce needs of growing businesses, and work with our local education partners to help ensure that high-quality, local pathways that lead to well-paying, in-demand jobs are readily available and more accessible.”

The Next Generation Zone, located next to WorkSource Spokane and serving young adults, will utilize funding for the purchase of new technology; to pay for National Career Readiness Certifications (NCRC) and testing; to provide scholarships to industry-specific cohort training (advanced manufacturing, healthcare, professional and business services); to pay for supportive services like transportation vouchers; and lastly, professional development for staff at Next Generation Zone, enabling more effective use of today’s technology in the classroom.

The SAWDC will also use these funds to develop Workforce Roadmaps which support JPMorgan’s goal of relying on data analysis to guide workforce development. The study will identify needs and critical occupations to support growth in five key industry clusters in the Spokane region. Based upon findings from the study, the SAWDC will influence the development of training opportunities in growing industries and illuminate opportunities to support the training of qualified personnel.


SAWDC Announces Passport to Career Success,  a new downloadable multi-media tool for young adult career exploration. With the unemployment rate for young adults ages 16-24 hovering around 20%, a team of business leaders, young adults, educators, professionals, and community partners came together to create tangible career planning options. This free tool, called the Passport to Career Success, is designed to assist young adults and educators with career exploration and planning. Developed to be used independently or as part of a classroom curriculum, it is intended to provide resources for our region’s upcoming workforce to become better informed of local career and educational opportunities.

The Passport leads young adults through 17 steps of career exploration and planning in four phases:

  • Plan Your Adventure
  • Learn the Language
  • Prepare Your Travel Tools
  • Take Off!

This travel-themed tool helps students explore and develop a career plan, learn about the local labor market, prepare for post-secondary education and training, access financial literacy tools, learn about the power of networking, and set forth on a career pathway.

The Passport utilizes multiple mediums to engage a broad array of users, and includes functionality to allow users to check off activities as they are completed to provide a record of their progress.

SAWDC Awarded Grant for Governor’s YouthWorks Initiative

The Spokane Area Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) received a state grant through the Governor’s YouthWorks Initiative in the amount of $147,000 that is implemented through multiple partnerships. The grant provides Opportunity Youth (youth who are out-of-school and out-of-work) with access to a dedicated College and Career Navigator, increased access to training and education opportunities, internships, industry mentors, and wrap-around services such as bus passes and work supplies.

The YouthWorks grant was awarded following a successful pilot program called “Career Readiness for Working Washington,” that was started in the communities of Renton, Spokane, Vancouver, Wenatchee and Yelm.

The SAWDC oversees partnerships with Spokane Public Schools, the Next Generation Zone and the NorthEast Washington Education Service District’s (NEW ESD 101) “Open Doors” program.

CEO of the SAWDC, Mark Mattke said, “This grant award provides us with additional capacity to strengthen the collaboration and connectivity between key players in our local workforce system, specifically local businesses, non-profits, training and education providers, and our future workforce. Investments like this harbor real potential to help our community close the opportunity gap, level the playing field, and develop the skills of our young adults so they can compete for in-demand jobs that pay a good wage, support the growth of industry, and help advance our regional economy.”

The Next Generation Zone, located next to WorkSource Spokane and serving Opportunity Youth, received funding for a full-time College and Career Navigator who guides young adults to develop a career goal and pursue a pathway of relevant opportunities that leads to fulfillment of this goal. Typically, pathways lead into high-demand careers that pay self-sufficient wages in the Spokane region. The navigator works with high school drop-outs to re-engage them to complete their high school education while connecting to opportunities for post-secondary training and education, internships and mentoring.

Trina Clayeux, director of the Center for Future Pathways at the Next Generation Zone said, “YouthWorks Spokane enables us to more fully develop a business mentorship component that complements the 21st century employment skills training that we already offer. These mentors not only coach and counsel young adults entering the workforce but also address the effective elements of work – such as building trust, dealing with frustration, and handling disappointment – that will serve them well beyond their first job.”

This program impacts over 600 young adults with success measured by new business mentorships, internships and the percentage of participants who enter post-secondary education or find employment through YouthWorks activities.



WDC and WorkSource Spokane support Fairchild Air Force Base 

The Spokane Area WDC was recently awarded a $242,865 grant to deliver career services on base at Fairchild Air Force Base (FAFB).

A career specialist as well as a disabled veterans specialist now offer one-on-one services to the base to provide military families assistance with career transitions, creating and submitting résumés and applications, labor market information, connections with local employers, short-term skills training to supplement military experience, individual career assessments, information about unemployment insurance and referrals to specific jobs.

As force shaping continues to impact FAFB, this new service becomes an invaluable asset. “A partnership between WorkSource and Fairchild can ensure lower unemployment insurance costs to the Air Force by rapidly connecting service members to employment information and career opportunities,” said Christopher Marble, the 92nd Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center director.

“Further, as WorkSource is state and federally-funded, it is extremely important that our services not duplicate those available through other means. [We] work collaboratively with the Transition Assistance Program and related civilian contractors to leverage and complement existing resources, allowing for enhanced service levels available on base.”

The WDC is pleased to be able to bring these resources to FAFB and to help military members and their families find work locally. “We are especially interested in keeping talented job seekers in our region and connecting them with employers in need of their skills,” said Dawn Karber, WDC Chief Operating Officer.



Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship programs are a great opportunity for on-the-job training, which allow participants to get paid while learning a trade. WorkSource Spokane currently works with 22 construction and aerospace apprenticeship programs to assist with recruitment and retention. Some candidates need additional experience before they can qualify for an apprenticeship. To fill this need, the Community Colleges of Spokane in partnership with the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council and WorkSource, is offering a pre-apprenticeship class called Skilled Trades Preparation (STP), which has been approved by the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council. The course begins on January 4, 2016.

The 11-week Skilled Trades Preparation course will will prioritize training women and other under-represented populations and provide students with the basic knowledge and certifications they need to be successful in applying and preparing for a trade-related apprenticeship. During the course, students will meet representatives from 14 different construction trades including Painters and Finishers, Roofers, Bricklayers, Cement Masons, Plumbers and Steamfitters, Electricians, and Home Builders, among others. Students who complete the class will receive certifications in OSHA-10 Construction Safety, First Aid/CPR, Flagger, and Forklift Operator.