Lewis County, Washington, sought to mitigate job losses and community divestment resulting from the closure of the state’s only remaining coal-fired power plant, TransAlta. Under a grant from the US Economic Development Administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative, the community engaged TIP Strategies to prepare an economic development strategic plan. Following the plan’s adoption, community leaders obtained additional EDA funding to implement recommendations related to attracting and retaining talent.
In March 2017, the Lewis County Economic Development Council (Lewis EDC) re-engaged TIP to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the regional workforce. Over the course of six months, the project team analyzed relevant characteristics of the county’s laborshed, examined the alignment of the regional workforce with Lewis EDC’s target industries, conducted a survey of employers in the county, and performed a gap analysis of the region’s training resources. In addition, more than 50 stakeholders participated in the process and provided input. Published in December 2017, the Workforce Development Training Needs Gap Analysis further refined the EDC’s workforce-related strategies and made recommendations on career pathways and training programs to strengthen the regional talent pipeline.