The EDC is starting off 2018 with a lot of activity. The EDC’s consultant, TIP Strategies, completed a workforce demand study that conclusively found areas where there is opportunity for workforce training in manufacturing, healthcare, and other sectors.

Unemployment remains low; it has not been this low in over 30 years. As the labor force tightens, employers have the opportunity to look to increase their workforce through internship programs. The EDC will be promoting the idea of internships in 2018 in cooperation with interested employers.

Growth and expansion continues around the county. This is evident as several businesses in the area are remodeling or expanding.


Workforce Development

Workforce Demand Study, TIP Strategies

Last summer, our consultants from TIP Strategies performed a Workforce Analysis study. The EDC would like to thank all those who participated in the process including: Centralia College and the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council. The findings of the study identified a number of career fields that are in highest demand for our community. There are three sectors that are projected to experience the greatest number of job opening over the next 5 years. The sectors are: manufacturing, healthcare, and Education. These three industries are expected to grow in job openings by 5,000-10,000 positions in the next 5 years.

The analysis has also indicated that the largest training gaps in our county are logging equipment operators, medical & health service managers, and millwrights (industrial machinery mechanics). With a large population of workers soon retiring, our community will need to find a solution in the near future to bridge these training gaps and bring in more qualified workers to fit the demand.

New middle skills / high demand jobs with the highest percentage of need fall into the categories of medical assistants, first-line supervisors, and office & admin support. The need for new workers due to retirement is growing over the next 10 years and is not immediate for these occupations.



The EDC is currently working to spark interest by employers in internship programs across Lewis County. TIP Strategies completed a Workforce Analysis that identified a number of career fields that are in highest demand for our community. We are using this data to indicate which companies we need to reach out to in order to promote internships. Internships may be paid or unpaid, they can last for a wide range of time and may or may not lead to a full-time job. In this way, a lot of internships are more like an enhanced version of a summer job, where the student gains experience in how the industry works and practices hands-on skills to move the company forward. The EDC webpage will soon have a separate page for employers interested in hiring interns. The EDC staff will work with Centralia College and Young Professionals of Lewis County to match student and position.


Business Retention and Expansion

Cardinal Glass TG

The Chehalis Cardinal Glass TG (Tempered Glass) plant opened their doors in 2010, two years after the Winlock float glass plant was completed. Cardinal TG focuses on the residential market for its tempered glass products. The TG division has 32 employees and is experiencing year over year growth of around 7%. It has so much demand that they are quickly approaching maximum production capacity. They have been able to forecast this good growth for the next few years.

Cardinal TG provides a safe and comfortable environment with great benefits and profit sharing. They are currently fully staffed but are always looking for people who want to get involved in manufacturing. If you know of anyone who would be a good fit, please send their information on to the EDC.

Alaskan Campers

Alaskan Campers was recently bought out by one of their dealers in Anchorage and are currently undergoing an expansion. In 2017, they experienced 40% growth in sales. Alaskan sold 53 campers in one year, compared to just 25 in 2008. To accommodate this growth, they have already doubled the number of their employees up to 13 now and increased compensation to retain quality workers. As they look forward to future growth they “are expecting to produce 60-70 campers annually, according to, Bryan Wheat, the President. We look forward to hearing more about their future success.

Shelton Structures

We recently connected Shelton Structures & Impact Washington to aid them in improving their operations. Shelton Structures is a 3rd generation manufacturer of laminated roof decking and glulam beams. When we last visited them in October they mentioned to us a desire to improve the productivity of their employees. Benjamin Baria toured the facility with Geoff Lawrence from Impact Washington (a non-profit LEAN consulting group) and Paul Ericson from Shelton Structures. They discussed at length the specific trainings and opportunities LEAN manufacturing could bring to Shelton Structures. LEAN was popularized by the book, “The Toyota Way.”


EDC Annual Banquet

Our 35th Annual Membership Banquet is approaching quickly. It will be held on Thursday, February 8th at the Jester Auto Museum. The event is sponsored by Security State Bank, Lamfromboise Communications, Jester Car Museum and Event Center. The evening will include recognition of excellence and achievement.

Awards include The Chronicle – Person of the Year Award, the Economic Development Leadership Award, and the Gail & Carolyn Shaw Industry Award.