Our Role in Workforce Development

SkillSource helps workers prosper and companies profit. We collaborate with industry, education and one-stop partners to make sure all workers know about the full range of career and education opportunities. (See one-stop partners listed below.)

SkillSource is a nonprofit agency that provides leadership, administration and oversight for programs devoted to the development of a skilled workforce in the North Central Workforce Development Area. We provide direct services in Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Adams counties, and contract services in Okanogan County. These efforts are overseen by the North Central Workforce Development Board, which is made up of local community and business leaders.

SkillSource teacher helping an adult student in a computer lab.

SkillSource helps people get established in the workforce, retrain for a new career or upskill for a promotion. We partner with schools and companies to make sure education and training delivers the skills employers want. SkillSource graduates go on to earn high school diplomas or equivalency, hone computer skills, graduate from vocational/technical school, or gain experience and skills training on-the-job. 

We support business by connecting them to well-trained candidates, offering personnel services and providing training for current employees to help build a more competitive workforce.

The WorkSource System

WorkSource is Washington’s brand for the American Job Center network. North Central’s WorkSource Partners:

  • SkillSource
  • Employment Security Department
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Wenatchee Valley College
  • Big Bend Community College
  • Department of Social and Health Services – Community Service Department
  • OIC of Washington
  • Columbia Basin Job Corps
  • AARP Foundation
  • Chelan Douglas Community Action Council
  • Department of Services for The Blind

History of SkillSource

Local business and community leaders formed SkillSource in 1983 (formerly known as the Pentad Private Industry Council) to implement a new federal workforce development policy that delegated control and resources to a regional public-private partnership. Othello CPA Ken Theonnes was the 15-volunteer-member Board’s first Chair. Douglas County Commissioner Bill Schmidtman led the local elected officials’ forum. Together they launched a new organization. Since then, more than 100 business and agency executives have served on the Board. East Wenatchee educator, business woman, and agency administrator Marcia Henkle served the longest from 1983 until her retirement in 2017.

Since its inception, the organization has handled some $150 million of federal funds. More than 40,000 people have attended Action for Career Employment, a workshop that informs participants about the wide range of career possibilities as well as the full array of state and federal workforce development resources, and challenges them to set goals. Throughout the eighties and nineties, it sent 250 individuals to vocational-technical school each year and arranged training on-the-job for that many more. In the summer SkillSource arranged 500 temporary jobs for disadvantaged teens and young adults to learn skills and develop positive work habits. SkillSource formed unique partnerships with community colleges to expand basic and office skills education into its locations.

In 2000, Congress tasked regional boards like SkillSource to facilitate one stop partnerships. The One Stop partnership established locations throughout the north central region where workers can get detailed information about the local job market, education and training opportunities, financial resources and support services provided by agency partners. Staff, print and digital resources are regularly available at WorkSource Centers and affiliate locations.

High school students getting a tour of a local business.

SkillSource is part of comprehensive Centers in Omak and Moses Lake, indeed leading the construction of a 20,000 square foot Center in Moses Lake, only the second new building in the state designed from the ground up for One Stop. Seven federal programs are based in the building and representatives of six more are regularly in the building.

Throughout its history, SkillSource has been a leading performer among the state’s regional workforce development boards. It shares the cost and credit with business, education and state agencies to maximize its reach and impact.