The 2023 Central Region Business Services Summit was held November 1-2 in Moses Lake, WA. The summit was jointly presented by SkillSource Regional Workforce Board, South Central Workforce, and the Employment Security Department, and was attended by over a hundred representatives from local workforce boards, agencies, and service providers. 

The labor market landscape has shifted considerably for regional businesses, with effects of the pandemic and the resulting economic turmoil still felt throughout Central Washington. The job market is hot, prices are high, and employers are struggling to recruit and retain talented workers. 

The North Central and South Central workforce areas share many of the same challenges and specific issues in serving their business customers. Many of the workforce agencies in both areas have experienced personnel shifts and turnover themselves. These two days of training and networking presented an opportunity for new and experienced staff to combine their efforts and knowledge to address common goals for business services.

The first day of the summit included an overview of the Quality Jobs initiative, presented remotely by Darcy Hoffman, the Director of Business Services in Workforce Southwest Washington. The group was then led through an interactive and engaging training by Tad Hildebrand, a SkillSource board member and consultant from Nash Consulting. Attendees were challenged to explore the conditions for cultivating customer relationships through improving adaptive skills, practicing non-defensive feedback and active listening so that others feel heard. 

On the second day of the summit attendees re-grouped for an informative and inspiring panel discussion led by Joseph Hauth. The panel focused on business engagement insights from local workforce development experts, Susy Moran and Joe Schmitt, and heard about real experiences shared by Stela Heuschkel and Jennifer Tarver of Genie Industries, which is headquartered in Moses Lake. Following the panel discussion was a remote and lively presentation about the Quality Jobs Initiative from John Bowers of the Seattle-King Workforce Council. Local business services team then reconvened to discuss and develop tactical action plans to bring back to their respective offices. Learn more here about The Quality Jobs Initiative

The 2023 Central Region Business Services Summit was joyfully facilitated by David Gutierrez Betancourt. Thank you to the presenters and participants, and thank you to the planning committee that made this summit such a resourceful and incredibly FUN event!