Chief Executive Officer

Workforce Southwest Washington Vancouver, WA

About Workforce Southwest Washington

Founded in 2002, Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) has a mission to lead a regional workforce development system where every individual has access to high-quality employment and every business has access to a highly skilled workforce. WSW envisions a region where economic prosperity and growth exists for every person.

WSW is striving to ensure each person in the community has access to critically needed workforce development programs, services, and opportunities, and are taking steps to ensure the workforce system is accessible, especially to those communities that have historically been underrepresented and marginalized

WSW leads the public workforce system in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties. Since 2002, they have invested more than $100 million to get people working in Southwest Washington. Investments include employment training services for businesses, career coaching for adults, and GED programs for young adults.

Workforce development requires participation from a variety of groups, including businesses, economic development, education, labor, government, nonprofit and community organizations. WSW brings these groups together to identify the regional workforce needs of specific industries and job seekers. This public-private team works together to obtain funding and implement strategies that help companies attract, hire, and retain the workers they need and help individuals get jobs or learn new skills to obtain better jobs.

To learn more about Workforce Southwest Washington visit their website.

The Opportunity

Joining an innovative and forward-thinking entity with engaged staff, Board, and community partners, Workforce Southwest Washington’s next CEO will be entering the organization at an exciting strategic moment. With a deepened focus on equitable outcomes and a vision to transform individual lives, communities, and the regional economy, this position represents a distinct opportunity to encourage and support substantial impact in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties. In addition to shaping partnerships and establishing ties across sectors to elevate regional workforce initiatives, the CEO will also lend their voice to state-wide and national dialogues about key advancements and innovations in the workforce development sector.

This position represents a transformative leadership opportunity for the next CEO to continue the tremendous work already underway, while also identifying and pursuing the initiatives and solutions that can further economic development and mobility across the region.

Key Priorities

Strategy and Vision

  • Remain apprised of the current workforce development landscape and continue to seek new and innovative ways of partnering with regional entities
  • Continuously seek input and feedback from the communities and partners to assess needs and opportunities
  • Maintain WSW’s momentum, executing on and refining the multi-year strategic plan; ensure alignment and motivation of staff and the Board around growth targets and objectives
  • Continue to develop and strengthen the diversity, equity, and inclusion work of WSW internally and externally through both commitment and impact

Fund Development

  • Maintain and grow existing portfolio of funding opportunities in partnership with senior leaders on staff
  • Lead and contribute to reporting and tracking of relevant funding stipulations and requirements
  • Where appropriate, seek to diversify revenue streams in alignment with WSW’s strategy and goals

Community Partnerships and External Engagement

  • Foster frequent and consistent dialogue while acting upon needs with relevant constituents to develop strong cross-sector partnerships
  • Build visibility and awareness of WSW services in the community
  • Serve as WSW’s primary spokesperson across education, corporate, public, philanthropic, and social sectors to drive initiatives and visibility within communities served and in broader regional and national conversations
  • Serve on relevant Boards and committees that support or are involved with workforce development initiatives regionally

Team, Board, and Organizational Leadership

  • Embrace the strengths, commitment, and passion of a high performing team; continue to cultivate a culture of respect and inclusiveness
  • Partner with the Board to create opportunities for engagement and strategic and generative input
  • Support Board governance (i.e., committee structures, recruitment, and diversification of the Board)
  • Provide sound fiscal and business management, and be accountable for legal integrity, compliance, and ethics

Ideal Candidate

Above all else, the incoming CEO will bring a genuine belief in and dedication to the vision of Workforce Southwest Washington where individuals have access to sustainable employment opportunities and businesses have access to highly skilled pipelines of talent. The successful candidate will be a proactive and innovative leader who brings an ever-present focus on how to tackle anticipated challenges and capitalize on forthcoming opportunities for the betterment of all communities served.  

Candidates must bring a seasoned track record of leadership experience in the workforce development or economic development fields. The new CEO will operate as a leader among leaders, bringing deep experience setting strategy and vision in collaboration with other senior leaders. WSW is a convener, facilitator, and connector. As such, the successful candidate will expertly identify and steward solutions to workforce challenges that take a holistic, equitable approach. The ideal candidate will continue to center the organization’s efforts to create and foster more equitable access to training and career pathways that support those who have historically faced systemic racism and structural barriers.

Leading with humility and a bias towards listening before acting, the incoming CEO will seek to understand others’ perspectives, opportunities, and challenges to effectively guide WSW’s strategy and direction. Whether with staff, communities, business partners, or peers in the sector, this person must demonstrate the ability to navigate complex and nuanced situations that require active listening and the deepest levels of respect. Leading an organization focused on serving and supporting the needs of others, the ideal candidate will bring the relationship-building savvy to respect and leverage the expertise and insights of those around them. Sustainable and scalable progress in workforce and economic development requires a WSW CEO who displays the comfort and confidence to both lead and champion the work of others in support of the broadest possible impact.

Equally important to setting vision and direction are aptitudes for operationalizing strategy and tracking execution with an eye towards continuous improvement. Regular communication and reports on WSW’s progress, impact, and challenges to key stakeholders, such as the Board and community, are essential. Furthermore, the ideal candidate will be well-versed in organizational management and operations, including expertise around fund development. Experience with and understanding of government funding, particularly via the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), is strongly preferred.

Minimum Qualifications

While prior CEO experience is not required, qualified candidates will bring a minimum of 10 to 15 years of relevant experience in the workforce and/or economic development space. A background in nonprofit management is highly preferred, as is a deep understanding of government funding from WIOA. Expertise in organizations that execute strategy in collaboration with partners and stakeholders is advantageous.

Candidates must demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills, with a natural ability to build and steward both internal and external relationships. Unimpeachable ethics and integrity are essential.

WSW’s offices are in Vancouver, Washington. The CEO may be based anywhere within the region, with the expectation of maintaining a regular presence in WSW’s offices and in the counties served.

The salary range for this position is $130,000 to $160,000.

Workforce Southwest Washington EEO Statement

Workforce Southwest Washington is an equal opportunity employer and provider of employment and training services. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Washington Relay 711.

To Be Considered

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the Become a Candidate button. Letters may be addressed to Alison Kaneko.

Chief Executive OfficerWorkforce Southwest Washington Vancouver, WA

The search for a Chief Executive Officer is being assisted by a team from GoodCitizen: 

Alison Kaneko
Vice President

Celene Haque
Senior Associate

Keristian Farra