Latest News

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 2:15pm

City launches environmental review of $1 billion fertilizer plant - TDN Article 

In a major step forward for the proposed ammonia plant, the City of Longview announced it is launching an extensive environmental review of the $1 billion Mint Farm Industrial Park project.

Pacific Coast Fertilizer volunteered to undergo an environmental impact statement (EIS) process, which will offer the public and government officials an in-depth analysis of the project’s potential impact.

City officials Monday kick started a 30-day comment period on the scoping process for the EIS. Scoping shapes what will be analyzed in the environmental review.

The proposed 61-acre project would produce 1,650 tons of fertilizers daily, primarily marketed to the Northwest agricultural industry. The plant would employ up to 100 workers to convert natural gas into anhydrous ammonia, a liquid commercial fertilizer.

Pacific Coast spokesman Paul Queary said the company wanted a more thorough EIS from the beginning when it first pitched its project more than a year ago.

“This is a big project. We expect people to have questions about it. We want to answer those questions,” Queary said. “We’re committed to building and operating this facility in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner and we think the EIS is the proper process to get there.”

Jumping to the EIS could also help the company avoid costly delays if the project underwent a less stringent environmental review that could potentially be challenged in court.

The city has identified three potential areas where the project may have significant impacts including: emissions, potential release of hazardous substances and impacts to emergency services. The project would require extending the natural gas supply; constructing manufacturing and storage facilities; transferring product to the Nippon Dynawave salt dock on the Columbia River; and constructing truck and marine vessel loading areas, according to the city.

Pacific Coast Fertilizer — a joint venture backed by Texas-based Saturn-Ferrostaal Chemicals LLC, Ferrostaal, Haldor Topsoe — will reimburse the city for costs associated with the EIS. The price tag for the EIS will likely be in the millions, but there is no estimate for the cost nor any estimate for how long the EIS will take to complete.

“I have in my career seen EIS’s that have been handled in less than a year, a full year or even a full six years for some local projects,” said John Brickey, community development director for City of Longview.

Pacific Coast officials said they weren’t discouraged by drawn-out permitting projects for similarly-sized projects on the Columbia River.

“We’re hopeful that the process can proceed quickly so that we can get to work building this project and putting people to work, but we understand that this process calls for thorough review and that will take some time,” Queary said.


Unlike the methanol and coal projects, Pacific Coast aims to sell its product domestically. The company’s liquid fertilizer would be marketed to Northwest agricultural retailers and transported by truck and ships.

“I would say that we are fundamentally distinct from those (coal and methanol) projects in the sense we intend to produce a commodity that is intended for the region,” Queary said.

The company would transfer its products by pipeline to nearby docks owned by Nippon Dynawave, according to the city. Typically farmers and retailers in the region pay about $150 more per a ton for nitrogen-based fertilizers compared to farmers on the Gulf Coast, because the fertilizers are imported from Canada and the Caribbean, according to Pacific Coast officials.

“The Pacific Northwest farmers need this product. What we’re seeking to do is produce it in a way that is closer to them,” Queary said.

Building the plant would cost between $800 million to $1 billion, and would generate about 1,000 construction jobs, according to the company. At full build out in 2021, the plant would employ between 80 to 100 workers, according to the company. J.H. Kelly and an Italian company, Saipem, would construct the plant together.

The plant could tap into an existing natural gas pipeline near the Mint Farm Industrial Park, with minimal extensions required.

Despite some public opposition, the Longview City Council in May agreed to sell about 19 acres of city land to Pacific Coast Fertilizer for $1.78 million. The sale is actually still pending, according to the city. Part of the plant will also be built on 36 acres of private land owned by PNW Recycling, a current Mint Farm tenant that will move to another location, and seven acres of additional land owned by a private party.

At last week’s city council meeting, a few members of the public spoke out against Pacific Coast’s plans, arguing that the area needs to move away from permitting projects heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

Opponents to the ammonia plant are already raising concerns about its potential greenhouse gas emissions, its use of natural gas, the safety of the plant and its proximity to residential areas.

But Brickey pointed out that the plant would be built in an area already zoned for heavy industrial use.

“It’s an opportunity for us to grow our industrial base. There’s a significant amount of investment in the plant itself … which will equate to a certain amount of sale tax and construction tax that would go into our general fund for the purpose of supplying services to our community,” Brickey said.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 2:00pm

Port of Longview OK's new lease for Bridgeview Terminal

Eight days after reaching a tentative deal with International Raw Materials, Port of Longview commissioners Wednesday agreed to enter a new five-year lease with the terminal operator, in what is expected to bring millions of dollars in new revenue and dozens of jobs to the port.

Commissioners Jeff Wilson and Doug Averett approved the lease as presented to the commission last week, but Commissioner Bob Bagaason abstained, citing concerns about the process being too rushed.

The commissioners gave the green light on the lease despite opposition from the local longshoremen’s union, which said it still has jurisdictional issues to work out with IRM.


“Once again we’re getting into an EGT-type situation,” said Billy Roberts, president of ILWU Local 21, referring to the union’s highly-charged battle over a lease with EGT in 2011, which lead to protests and several arrests. “At this time, we still have a lot of work to do … and we’re not in support of this project.”

IRM President Tip O’Neill said the company was committed to working with the ILWU to address any remaining concerns.

Commissioner Jeff Wilson said the lease explicitly states that IRM will have to honor the port’s working agreement with the ILWU.

“It was a good lease … staff worked tirelessly on this,” Wilson said. “This is (economically) good news for the community.”

Commissioner Averett didn’t go into detail about why he supported the lease, stating simply, “I think this is good for the port and good for the community.”

Under the deal, the port will make an additional $1.5 million to $2 million annually from Berths 1 and 2, now collectively called the Bridgeview Terminal. Currently, the Bridgeview Terminal isn’t breaking even.

In its first year of operations, IRM would guarantee that 250,000 metric tons of product would be shipped through the terminal. That would double in the second year, hitting 500,000 metric tons annually and possibly exceeding that minimum if IRM can attract more business. The company will handle pot ash, soda ash and other dry bulk commodities. 


That level of volume could support more than 30 longshoremen jobs, although it’s possible that jobs number could be higher if the terminal is busier. According to a 2012 economic impact study of Berth 2, there are about 15 direct jobs supported for every 220,000 metric tons of cargo shipped at the dock.

“We’re committed to being a good neighbor, to running a safe operation and protecting the environment,” O’Neill of IRM said Wednesday.

IRM’s first ship is expected to dock next Tuesday.

Check later for an update.

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 2:15pm

As reported by The Daily News 10/13/2017

The Port of Longview announced Thursday the hire of 20-year maritime veteran Mark Price as its new director of marine terminals.

Price will manage cargo operations as the port undertakes a number of major infrastructure projects and continues to expand, the port said.


Price previously oversaw Kinder Morgan’s operations in Portland, Vancouver and Longview.


“Mark is an outstanding addition to our team,” said Norm Krehnbiel, port CEO, in a press release. “His experience and knowledge of Northwest ports provides valuable input to our operations and business development.”


Price will work closely with the business development department to establish key marketing cargo strategies to expand the port’s customer base, the port said.

“The Port of Longview is an established leader in the cargo handling industry,” Price said. “I believe my proven track record in managing safe, environmentally sound and productive cargo operations will continue to add to the port’s successes.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 4:00pm
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October 2017



Tech Tour Promotes Industry & Quality of Place



Thought Leaders Group Forming to Address Tech Industry Workforce Needs



BIA, SWCA and WSW Launch Construction Workforce Plan



Manufacturing & Other Industries to Get an Image Boost



Demystifying Manufacturing for Young Adults



Workforce Southwest Washington Welcomes New Board Members



CREDC Adopts New Strategic Plan to Guide Economic Development Efforts



Workforce Southwest Washington Receives Grant for Youth Mural and Work-Skills Project



Incarcerated Individuals L.E.A.P. to Training and Employment



Meet Kevin Perkey, Adult Initiatives Manager Launches Web Page to Help Retailers Fill Jobs



October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month



Incumbent Worker Training Funds Available



Washington Workforce Conference Nov. 7-8



Hiring Events 2nd & 4th Wednesdays at WorkSource Vancouver



#PowerofaJob Blog Shares Employment Success Stories



Save the Date: Youth Employment Summit is April 10, 2018



CDL at Lower Columbia College



Job Seeker finds New Career with Help from WorkSource Cowlitz/Wahkiakum



Emerging Leaders Internship Program Coming to SW WA – Event November 14



Educational Service District 112 to open Early Learning Center in Kalama



“What I did on my Summer Vacation” takes on new Meaning for Teachers



Innovation Partnership Zone Status Renews for Vancouver/Camas



Retirement Options Presentation & Open House at Clark College ECD



Evergreen Habitat Accepting Applications for Home Ownership Program



Workforce News



WorkSource Workshops


Board Meeting

December 13, 2017
4-6 p.m.
Partners in Careers, Vancouver.
Click for details.




To prepare and promote a skilled and adaptive workforce for a thriving economy in Southwest Washington.


Our Partners































Julia Maglione Communications Manager jmaglione [at]


October 2017


A Message from the CEO

Welcome to our fall workforce system newsletter.

September was National Workforce Development Month and October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. We’ve been busy celebrating both with numerous events, including Tech Tours, an employer breakfast to discuss how to develop youth workforce programs and Manufacturing Day. Read about them in the articles that follow.

To increase our reach and share workforce news, WSW is now on Twitter. Follow us and like us @WorkforceSWWA.

Jeanne Bennett, CEO



Tech Tour Promotes Industry & Quality of Place

Southwest Washington's burgeoning tech community was on display during the first annual Tech Tour on September 19. More than 80 individuals visited 18 tech companies, some of which had taken up residence in downtown Vancouver breweries, restaurants, coffee shops and co-work locations to make it easier for participants to walk to the locations and maybe catch a bite and brew for dinner.

The event highlighted some of the area's most promising and established tech companies.

The tour began at The Bridge Incubator, a local source for startup support and mentorship, and continued to breweries and other locations before ending at a VanTechy after-party at co-work space Columbia Collective.

The Tech Tour collaborators, Workforce Southwest WashingtonVanTechyThe Bridge IncubatorColumbia River Economic Development Council and Technology Association of Oregon plan to make this an annual event.

To learn more, contact Cass Parker, Senior Industry Initiatives Manager, at 360.567.1076 or cparker [at]


Photos compliments of Technology Association of Oregon.


Tech Tour kick-off at The Bridge Incubator.


Trying RealWear at Trusty Brewing.


SigmaDesign at Old Ivy Taproom.


VanTechy meet-up at Columbia Collective.


Thought Leaders Group Forming to Address Tech Industry Workforce Needs


Tech company leaders came together recently to discuss apprenticeship for SW Washington.

Key points from the discussion were that although employees with hard skills are needed in the junior developer space, soft skills training is needed for entry- and mid-level employees.

WSW will be working with industry leaders to develop a Tech Thought Leader Group to further the discussion around tech company workforce needs. Review the Tech Talent Workforce Plan.

For more information about workforce and tech, contact Cass Parker, Senior Industry Initiatives Manager, at 360.567.1076 or cparker [at]



(l to r) Mike Lee, Home Depot Quote Center and Dave Barcos, The Bridge Incubator.


(l to r) Kevin Getch of Webfor and Michael Wall of Great Western Malting.


BIA, SWCA and WSW Launch Construction Workforce Plan


In the next 10 years, more than 15,000 new construction jobs are expected in the region. At the same time, one-fifth of the construction workforce is at or nearing retirement age.

To help businesses address the growing need for employees, WSW and its Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative partners, in conjunction with the construction industry, developed the “2017-2019 Construction Workforce Plan.”

The plan was rolled out at an October 5 event co-hosted by the Building Industry Association of Clark County (BIA), the Southwest Washington Contractors Association (SWCA) and WSW. More than 60 people attended the event that was sponsored by and held at the DeWils Design Center.

Companies interested in learning more about the plan or joining a construction workgroup, can contact Industry Initiatives Manager Melissa Boles at mboles [at]

 or 360.567.3185.


BIA Executive Director Avaly Scarpelli talks about how the BIA will use the Construction Workforce Plan to help its members.


(l to r) Derek Jaques, Career & Technical Education Director with Camas School District; SWCA Executive Director Darcy Altizer and SWCA Board Member Tracey Malone of Halbert Construction.


WSW's Industry Initiatives Manager Melissa Boles explains the Construction Workforce Plan goals.


(l to r) BIA Board Member Dawn Bell, HomeStreet Bank; Mark Williams, TerraFirma Foundation Systems and Jennifer Ramsay, WFG Title.


Manufacturing & Other Industries to Get an Image Boost


Later this year, WSW and its Columbia-Willamette Workforce Collaborative partners will launch an outreach campaign and website to increase awareness of manufacturing, health care, construction and technology and encourage youth and adults to learn about career pathways and jobs in these industries.

These sectors are projected to produce a large number of new jobs in the coming years, but opportunities and skills needed are not clearly understood by job seekers, youth and their parents.

Thank you to the companies that co-invested in the manufacturing campaign: Analog Devices (Linear Technology), Columbia MachineMadden Industrial CraftsmenSEH AmericaSilicon Forest Electronics and Vigor and the Columbia River Economic Development Council for its ongoing partnership.

Contact Senior Industry Initiatives Manager Cass Parker at cparker [at]

 or 360.567.1076 to learn more.



Demystifying Manufacturing for Young Adults

More than 30,000 manufacturing jobs in the SW Washington-Portland region will need to be filled in the next decade, largely due to workers retiring.

To interest the next generation in these jobs, and in honor of National Manufacturing Day, 10 companies hosted nearly 200 young adults, including students from the Washington State School for the BlindEducational Service District 112’s Connect 2 Careers program and several school districts at a Manufacturing Day fair on October 3.

The students learned about potential career opportunities, apprenticeships and high-paying jobs, many of which don’t require a four-year college degree, and toured the Port of Vancouver. The event’s goal was to demystify manufacturing by exposing students to local companies and potential future jobs and careers.

Thank you participating companies: Analog Devices (formerly Linear Technology), Columbia MachineFrito LayGraphic PackagingGeneral Sheet MetalPort of VancouverSilicon Forest ElectronicsUSNRClark College Mechatronics Program and WorkSource and event space sponsor Warehouse 23.

Companies interested in learning about opportunities to interact with youth can contact Cass Parker, Senior Industry Initiatives Manager, at cparker [at]

 or 360.567.1076.


General Sheet Metal


Analog Devices (Linear Technology)


Silicon Forest Electronics


Columbia Machine


Workforce Southwest Washington Welcomes New Board Members


WSW has added two new members to its volunteer board of directors.

  • Robert Harris, Vice President, JH Kelly, has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry and will represent Cowlitz County private sector.
  • Bianca Kolle, Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) brings more than 14 years of experience serving individuals with disabilities and represents DVR in Clark County.

The workforce board includes representatives of private businesses, education, organized labor, local governments, community-based and nonprofit organizations, state agencies and economic development councils. See a complete list of WSW Board members.


Bianca Kolle, Division of Vocational Rehab


Robert Harris, JH Kelly


CREDC Adopts New Strategic Plan to Guide Economic Development Efforts


The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) Board of Directors recently adopted Phase II of the 2017 Clark County Comprehensive Economic Development Plan.

The plan establishes a 20-year vision with countywide goals and objectives, outlines an implementation plan to achieve specific action items over the next five years, and identifies key metrics to track and report progress.



Workforce Southwest Washington Receives Grant for Youth Mural and Work-Skills Project


WSW received a $20,000 grant from the Honorable Frank L. and Arlene G. Price Foundation to help at-risk youth in South Kelso learn work-related skills through design and creation of a community mural.

In partnership with Goodwill in Longview, Educational Service District 112 (ESD112) and Urban Artworks, youth ages 16-18 will participate in the South Kelso Mural Academy in 2018.

The youth will work with artists and muralists to execute a large-scale piece of public art, while learning teamwork, leadership and soft skills.

“Frank Price was a retired Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge and Arlene Price taught art at Huntington Junior High in Kelso. Their private foundation was founded on three principles health, education and historical preservation. The board of directors of the foundation believes this art project will further the education of youth desperately in need of guidance at a critical time of their lives,” said Kay Dalke-Sheadel, Executive Director of the Price Foundation. The foundation gifted $175,000 in Clark and Cowlitz counties in 2017.

Photo (l to r) Price Foundation Executive Director Kay Dalke-Sheadel presents grant check to WSW Board Chair John Vanderkin.



Incarcerated Individuals L.E.A.P. to Training and Employment


Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release (LEAP) is a WSW partnership with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Re-Entry program that brings WorkSource services into the county jail to help incarcerated individuals increase skills so they can gain employment upon reentering the community and decrease recidivism.

The program is making a difference. One participant said in an interview: “Without LEAP, I don’t know where I would be. I wouldn’t have school or WorkSource or a solid resume or a way to get around. This has changed everything for me. The day I was released I had medical insurance, food stamps, all the things I needed to be successful. While incarcerated, I registered at Clark College and now I am a full-time student. I worked with WorkSource and am getting my certificates to become an industrial hygienist."

LEAP began in December 2016 and 138 individuals have received services, including job search assistance, resume writing and interviewing skills. At least eight have obtained jobs. WSW funded the two-year pilot through an $800,000 U.S. Department of Labor grant.

See video at



Meet Kevin Perkey, Adult Initiatives Manager


Kevin Perkey oversees WSW’s adult and collaborative grant programs.

Before joining WSW, Kevin was CEO of South Central Pennsylvania Works (SCPa Works), a regional workforce development board investing more than $12 million of public workforce development funds across an eight-county region of Pennsylvania.

Prior to SCPa Works, Kevin was Director of Youth Programs at the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has also held positions in a nonprofit technology services organization that delivered cloud-based application development, GIS analysis and community business intelligence services to the nonprofit sector.

Kevin has a BA in Environmental Studies and a Master's in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, both from the University of Pittsburgh. He has served in leadership roles on several boards, most recently serving on the board of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Workforce Development Council.

Reach Kevin at KPerkey [at]

 or 360.567.1066.

________________________________ Launches Web Page to Help Retailers Fill Jobs


The Washington Retail Association and have partnered to create a web page to eanble job seekers to explore retail as a career. The page provides information on wages, employment, training and testimonials from people who work in retail.

Businesses wanting assistance to fill open jobs can contact a WorkSource Business Solutions Representative for staffing assistance at no cost or view the more than 150,000 resumes available on

Job seekers can post resumes, apply for jobs and learn about hiring events at



October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month


National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is an annual campaign to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of America's workers with disabilities. The theme for 2017 is "Inclusion Drives Innovation."

WSW is engaged in a variety of activities to increase awareness of disability employment issues for both adults and youth.

Nine students from the Washington State School for the Blind attended the October 3 Manufacturing Day event to hear from local companies about employment opportunities. "It is also a great opportunity to educate potential employers about the skills and abilities that blind and visually impaired youth can bring to the workforce," said Youth Services Specialist Marcie Ebarb, M.S.

WSW staff has been involved in planning the October 11 Inter-State Disability Employment Alliance event for employers that gives them the opportunity to learn about how to hire employees with disabilities, learn about what resources are available to assist both the employer and the employee, and hear from employers who have successfully hired employees with disabilities.

If you would like to help promote NDEAM, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has a wide range of tools available and in your social media outreach, you can use #DisabilityEmploymentAwarenessMonth.



Incumbent Worker Training Funds Available

Do you need to train your current workers? Would you like funding assistance? Contact Darcy Hoffman, Regional Business Solutions Manager at 360.735.5038 or dhoffman [at]

 to see if your company qualifies for free training.



Washington Workforce Conference Nov. 7-8


The Washington Workforce Conference is November 7-8 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Seattle.

Check the website for conference details and hotel information.



Hiring Events 2nd & 4th Wednesdays at WorkSource Vancouver


WorkSource in Vancouver is holding hiring events featuring numerous companies on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month from 10 a.m. to noon at WorkSource, 204 SE Stonemill Drive, Suite 215, Vancouver 98684.

Job seekers should bring copies of their resumes and dress for an interview.

Free resume writing and interviewing workshops are available at the WorkSource centers.



#PowerofaJob Blog Shares Employment Success Stories


Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) has launched a #PowerofaJob campaign to tell the stories of how ESD helps people get jobs and supports them while they look for work. New stories are added every Wednesday.

Sign up for the blog or follow the posts on Twitter or Facebook.



Save the Date: Youth Employment Summit is April 10, 2018


The next Youth Employment Summit will be held on April 10, 2018. The first event in May 2017 drew more than 50 companies and 200 students who participated in mock interviews and hands-on activities to learn about industries, career pathways and required skills and education. Some youth also applied for summer jobs and several were hired at the event.

Approximately 30 employers that participated in the May event attended a breakfast to learn tips on how to engage with young adults. SEH AmericaSilicon Forest Electronics and NW Motor Service, companies with robust youth engagement programs, shared best practices. The discussion touched on various ways businesses can address their own need for future employees.

Learn more by contacting Youth Initiatives Manager Miriam Martin at mmartin [at]

 or 360.567.3183.



CDL at Lower Columbia College


After hearing from employers that the Commercial Driver License (CDL) is a must have for success in the Diesel Technology and Transportation sector, Lower Columbia College (LCC) began offering both Class A and Class B CDL courses for students and incumbent workers. Obtaining either license can help an individual enter into a career that is in high demand in our area.

Running cohorts of four students each, LCC has successfully trained 13 students for Class A CDLs and seven students for Class B. LCC’s program offers small class sizes that allow students to get the individual attention they need to be successful.

To learn more about the CDL Program at LCC, contact Heidi Hamer at hhamer [at]

 or 360.442.2603.



Job Seeker finds New Career with Help from WorkSource Cowlitz/Wahkiakum


Laurie Williams first connected with WorkSource at a community outreach event in Wahkiakum County, where she lives.

Laurie was a business owner prior to moving to Washington State. When she and her husband settled in Cathlamet, Laurie went to work for Wahkiakum County as a clerk. She was laid off after two years.

Laurie sought retraining assistance through WorkSource in Kelso. Over several months, she attended WorkSource’s job seeker workshops and Strategies for Success series. Her WorkSource case manager walked her through the training scholarship process and partnered with Lower Columbia College (LCC) to assist Laurie with her admission, registration and financial aid application.

After researching occupations, Laurie decided Accounting/Financial Advising would best match her interests and skills and lead to long-term, self-sufficient employment. She received a tuition scholarship, gas assistance and funding for books and school supplies from WorkSource to help her be successful in her new training program.

Photo (l to r): WorkSource Case Manager Sandra Schmaltz and client Laurie Williams.



Emerging Leaders Internship Program Coming to SW WA – Event November 14


As hiring becomes more challenging for many companies, the Emerging Leaders Internship (ELI) program gives companies access to a rich and diverse pool of potential candidates for 10-12 week summer internships.

ELI matches college students—first-generation, low-income and students of color—with paid internships at top companies. The program will be available in Southwest Washington in summer 2018.

ELI is hosting an event on November 14 in Vancouver and companies will have an opportunity to learn about the program and meet the ELI team. //eli [at]" style="color: rgb(26, 99, 34); font-weight: bold; text-decoration-line: none;">Click to RSVP.

Contact Tyler Monk at tyler.monk [at]

 or go to for additional details.



Educational Service District 112 to open Early Learning Center in Kalama


ESD112 will open an early learning center at 524 1st Street in downtown Kalama in mid-October. The full-time center will serve eight infants and eight toddlers. In addition to private pay childcare, eligible families may qualify for free childcare through an Early Head Start grant. The center will also take DSHS childcare subsidies. All staff are highly qualified in meeting the unique needs of infants and toddlers.

The need for the center was made evident by a survey conducted by Workforce Southwest Washington. Families interested in learning more can contact ESD112’s Early Learning department at 360.952.3466 or earlylearning [at]




“What I did on my Summer Vacation” takes on new Meaning for Teachers


Ten teachers spent part of their summer vacation at local companies learning the latest about their fields.

Teacher Allie Cowen writes of her experience in “What I Learned During My Summer Externship at Gravitate.”

In its August newsletter, a host company wrote: “Silicon Forest Electronics recently hosted a teacher from the Vancouver School District as part of their "Externship" program. Ian Hurst is an Electronics and Pre-Engineering/Design Teacher at iTech Prep, and he received 40 hours of immersion time within the manufacturing operations of Silicon Forest Electronics. The externship experience helps teachers, like Ian, connect classroom content with students' future career interests and helps students develop both the academic and technical skills required in the world they are preparing to enter. We are grateful to have been part of a positive and profound experience for Ian!"

The externships were funded by Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) through a YouthWorks grant. YouthWorks, a career-readiness project to help youth prepare for living-wage careers through internships, mentoring, job shadowing and other work-based learning experiences, is a collaboration between WSW, Partners in Careersand local school districts.

To learn more, contact Youth Initiatives Manager Miriam Martin at mmartin [at]

 or 360.567.3183.



Innovation Partnership Zone Status Renews for Vancouver/Camas


The Washington State Department of Commerce has reauthorized the Vancouver/Camas Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ). The goal of IPZs is to stimulate growth of industry clusters and build strong regional economies. IPZs empower regions to form partnerships among research entities, private-sector partners and workforce training to collaborate and develop commercially viable technologies. IPZs are designated for four-year terms.



Retirement Options Presentation & Open House at Clark College ECD


Clark College Economic & Community Development is hosting a free open house for businesses and professionals on October 17 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at its downtown location at 500 Broadway St., Room 214 in Vancouver.

Guest speaker Mara Woloshin, M.A., APR, Fellow PRSA, will give an overview on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security issues facing business owners and professionals, including Medicare options and critical decisions and strategies on when to start utilizing Social Security and retirement benefits.

There will be time for networking and an opportunity to meet instructors, check out the downtown location and learn more about resources at Clark College.

Click here to RSVP or contact Francois Wevers at FWevers [at]

 or 360.992.2939.



Evergreen Habitat Accepting Applications for Home Ownership Program


Evergreen Habitat for Humanity is accepting applications for its home ownership program from October 14 to November 14.

Orientations are the first step and will be held in October.

To learn more, call 360.737.1759 or email //melissa [at]" style="color: rgb(26, 99, 34); font-weight: bold; text-decoration-line: none;">melissa [at]



Workforce News

View media coverage, press releases and past newsletters at Workforce News.



WorkSource Workshops

Clark County: 204 SE Stonemill Drive, Suite 215, Vancouver, WA 98684, 360.735.5000. Click to view Clark County Workshops and Hiring Events.

Cowlitz-Wahkiakum: 305 S. Pacific Avenue, Suite B, Kelso, WA 98626, 360.577.2250. Click to view Cowlitz/Wahkiakum Workshops and Hiring Events.


WSW, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, contributes to regional economic growth
by providing investments and resources to improve the skills and education
of the workforce in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.

WSW-funded programs help businesses find and hire the employees they need
and provide people the skills, education and training to find work or advance in their careers. WSW partners with employers, community colleges and universities,
labor groups, government and economic development agencies, high schools and
community organizations to provide employment and training services
to businesses, job seekers and youth.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 9:15am
Statement from Millennium Bulk Materials
Agencies in Olympia are again attempting to re-interpret the law to deny Southwest WA, and especially Longview, the opportunities for growth and family-wage jobs that are so needed in the community.

This morning, Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview was told Ecology was denying a routine water quality certification.  This certification is commonly known as the “401 cert.”- after the section of the federal law that created this requirement. 

Ecology appears to have intentionally avoided decades of law and practice defining the Clean Water Act, and more surprisingly to have overlooked the many positive findings of fact in the Final EIS they published—no adverse impacts water quality, wetlands or fisheries.

Millennium will appeal the decision.

It is important to understand that Ecology did not justify its denial based on the coal that would be handled by Millennium’s proposed export terminal.  In fact, just over a year ago Ecology issued Trans Alta a water quality decision for the Centralia facility that stores the same type and  quantity of coal.

Instead, Ecology argued the impacts of rail traffic and vessel traffic outside of the project boundaries created “too many unavoidable and negative impacts”.  Yet the number of trains and vessels serving Millennium will be within the range of historic traffic numbers in the area for vessels and trains. 

Ecology also relied on an interpretation that normal in-water work necessary to construct, operate, and maintain docks and port infrastructure created too many impacts to allow the project to move forward.  However, the work proposed by Millennium is similar to work routinely completed by ports and private dock owners along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, Grays Harbor, and throughout Puget Sound. 

The basis for Ecology’s rejection of Millennium’s 401 cert could equally apply to any new project generating rail or vessel traffic in the state.  The agency’s decision could possibly even limit the operations of current manufacturing and trade facilities.  Even if the agency doesn’t apply this decision to other permits, opponents can always turn to the courts to argue this decision for Millennium should also block future projects.

Despite this unfair decision, Millennium is committed to moving forward with the project and will continue to pursue other permits necessary for the construction and operation of the coal export facility. 

One of those permits will be issued by Cowlitz County. The comment period for that permit is open for a few more days (until Oct 7). Given today's news, we would greatly appreciate if you would add your voice and submit a comment. Will you click below and add your name? It's extremely easy and will help get us across the finish line.  

Comment Today!

Millennium is confident it will ultimately receive a fair and unbiased decision based on the facts.  This decision will result in the necessary permits to create over 1,000 jobs in our community while supporting many jobs in other communities across the West.