Workforce development and educational institutions

Pierce County is home to over 860,000 residents, roughly 11% of the State’s population, labor force, and total employment. With the growth of both the manufacturing and service sectors over the past decade, it is well-poised to assume a greater role in the national and global economy in the coming decades.

Instructor preparing students for the workforce, image courtesy UW Tacoma

Nine regional colleges and universities, along with 12 technical schools, produce 54,200 graduates each year, including 17,750 with related engineering, mathematics, analytics, business, and other high-tech degrees.

The South Sound hosts two major military installations, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap, as well as the state headquarters of the Washington National Guard at Camp Murray. Veterans, transitioning soldiers, and their families bring significant contributions and talents to the region’s workforce.

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region is one of the Top 10 Best Places to Live, according to U.S. News & World Report, making is easy for companies to recruit top talent from across the country.

For more workforce resources, last month’s employment report, and news specific to Pierce County, visit our partners at Workforce Central.

Workforce development

City of Tacoma Local Employment and Apprenticeship Training Program

The Local Employment and Apprenticeship Training Program (LEAP) provides City of Tacoma residents opportunities to access apprenticeship programs through its partnerships with local work force development providers.

Customized Training Program

Under the Customized Training Program, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) pays the costs up front for customized training. After training is completed the business repays the costs to the SBCTC interest free. Upon completion of training 25 percent of the full amount is due, and the remaining 75 percent due is spread over 18 months. After a business makes the initial payment of 25 percent to the SBCTC, they may take a state B&O tax credit equal to half of that amount. As the business pays off the remainder over the 18 month period, the business may continue to take tax credits equal to 50 percent of each repayment amount. Thus, the total tax credit is equal to 50 percent of the cost of the training program.

Job Skills Program

Washington’s Job Skills Program is training customized to meet employers’ needs. JSP funds are awarded to licensed educational institutions to cover half of the training cost (the other half must be provided by the employer). Funds can be used for customized training, cross-training, basic skills training, continuous improvement, train-the-trainer programs, and new employee services.

WorkForce Central Business Services

WorkForce Central offers free core services such as employee recruitment and prescreening of applicants. Their other fee based services include computerized job matching and referral of quality applicants, electronic job posting and resume banks, help with recruitment and layoffs, customized training packages to upgrade worker skills, information on wages, occupations, and business trends, and access to tax incentive and help with childcare and transportation.

Service Member for Life: Transition Assistance Program

The Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) offers job fairs, quarterly networking gatherings, employer spotlight events, weekly brown bag information sessions, job posting services and more. Information about events and resources is available on JBLM’s employment website.

Educational institutions in Pierce County


Pierce County has outstanding four-year institutions that offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Community & Technical Colleges

Pierce County has four excellent community and technical colleges that provide classes, contract training, and other resources to local employers.

K-12 Education

Together, the 15 public school districts in Pierce County work to meet the educational needs of over 130,000 enrolled students.

The Pierce County Skills Center provides training in trades from  aerospace to veterinary science to  juniors and seniors from 10 Pierce County school districts.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction publishes Report Cards and additional educational attainment data.

Let us connect your company with the workforce talent it needs.

Sarah Bonds 

Vice President for Business Recruitment

Contact Sarah


Maddie Merton 

Vice President for Business Retention and Expansion

Contact Maddie