Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center, Seattle, WA
The Seattle region faces critical workforce shortages in high-demand fields, including emergent “green collar” jobs. Located in Washington’s largest manufacturing and trades center, the Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center trains residents from culturally diverse backgrounds for high-demand jobs and entrepreneurship, and increases economic vitality by offering educational pathways for low income residents.
The Seattle region is facing critical workforce shortages in high-demand fields due to an aging workforce and lack of skilled replacement workers. Increasing environmental awareness has led to calls for initiatives that emphasize sustainability for the Puget Sound area.
Located in the heart of Washington State’s largest manufacturing and trades center, the Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center (PSIEC) is a new innovative concept in community college entrepreneurship. The goal of PSIEC programs is to train the area’s low-income and culturally diverse residents for employment in high-demand jobs that would otherwise go unfilled.
A key focus and area of community demand is entrepreneurial programs to assist the many small businesses and new start-ups associated with larger core companies and industries. In addition to housing services for area businesses and providing entrepreneurial training, training programs are being developed with emphasis on “green collar” jobs including energy audit training to assist local companies in becoming more energy-efficient.
The Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center demonstrates a progressive model that includes industry, labor, government, and community partners working together collaboratively with the college to achieve common goals: diverse, well-trained workers for careers in high-demand fields that provide family-wage jobs.
Extensive business, labor, government and community partnerships formed in support of the PSIEC provide a sustainable and effective framework for continued success in Washington’s workforce development system. The new infrastructure and initiatives will greatly contribute to long-term workforce development objectives for the community and the region. Key milestones, opportunities and issues are discussed.
Joseph Hauth, MPA, Director, Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center, Georgetown Campus, South Seattle Community College, WA