As the end of the first quarter closes, Workforce Development and Infrastructure for Small Communities is a high priority for the EDC. We are excited about kicking off two new projects that address both of these issues. This will be a great opportunity for business and industry within Lewis County as we seek to put into place the infrastructure and trained workforce that is needed.

 

Community Development

 

Workforce Development Study

 

TIP Strategies, an economic development consulting group, is performing a study to identify job skill gaps and solutions that attract industry to Lewis County and meet the needs of current and incumbent workers. This study is in partnership with Centralia College and private industry.

 

The EDC will perform a study, as well, to identify existing clusters and the job skill gaps of entry level skilled, medium skilled, and highly skilled jobs in Lewis County. A special emphasis will be on entry level and medium level skills and potential solutions, such as on the job training and education, to help them gain meaningful employment.

 

This study will provide the following deliverables; supply analysis, demand analysis, workforce availability analysis, and career pathways mapping. This approach will provide our workforce with the skills that they need to increase their employment opportunities and create greater economic development opportunities. The scope of work will include the following sections:

 

Supply Analysis

 

The Supply Analysis will evaluate the present workforce with projected attrition rates and demographic data to identify future needs and workforce strategies. The analysis of the current workforce capabilities will be essential to determining the viability of an industry target.

 

Demand Analysis

 

The Demand Analysis will identify occupational and workforce needs of the target industries’ current and future workforce.

 

Workforce Availability Analysis

 

The Workforce Availability Analysis measures the availability and willingness of current and prospective employees to change employment within the workforce. This study will reflect both the available and underemployed component of the workforce.

 

Small Community Infrastructure Development

 

The EDC has commissioned SCJ Alliance to help small towns and unincorporated communities with technical assistance on infrastructure projects. The roles and responsibilities of the planning effort will be to: research all areas of community infrastructure growth, help bridge funding gaps, discuss needed improvements with small business, be a liaison to local government and community groups, provide a project vision, develop a scope of work, assist in planning, and work with contractors and developers to move projects to construction readiness.

 

Marketing

 

Riverside Transportation a company based in Kansas City, Kansas opened a new west coast location on Chehalis Avenue near Darigold. This location will serve all of their western U.S. operations. Their local operation began in November of last year and have grown to 65 refrigerated trucks and drivers. They have plans to double that number by the end of 2017.

 

Ed Myers, VP of Operations and Mossyrock resident, stated, “We see a lot of opportunity in this market, our industry is seeing a tremendous amount of growth.” They are the third trucking company to locate in Lewis County in recent months. It is an indicator that the economy is growing and has a need for logistics operations like RTI to move everything from tomatoes to beef across the U.S.

 

Business Retention & Expansion

 

Wolverine West Fireworks began in 1999 when the owners of Michigan’s Wolverine Fireworks Inc. found a suitable site here in Washington State. After years of regulatory approval at federal and state governments Wolverine West officially began operations in 2001. Today they manage 100 annual fireworks displays with 30 on Independence Day weekend alone. These displays must comply with a long list of federal and state regulations and in every city, must pay business licenses and fees. They are currently in the process of expanding, pending regulatory approval, and would like connect with anyone who does road construction. Please reach out to Rod at 206-459-0917.

 

SA Tech has begun laying the concrete foundation for their new facility! In addition to their construction progress they have received attention from the Department of Commerce who wants to help businesses like theirs foster in the state of Washington. If any companies you know need the best anti-fatigue mats please contact SA Tech at 360-748-8711.

 

For questions regarding the EDC’s activities please contact Matt Matayoshi matt@lewisedc.com or (360) 748-0114