A Sound Workforce

This is the place for world-class talent, offering a skilled, diverse workforce, prepared for in-demand disciplines in emerging industries. Graduates from area universities and community colleges are ready to excel in the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Washington State educational institutions workforce JBLM transition updated 6-19

Pierce County Profile

Regional Fast Facts

  • Population: 878,100WA No 1 state in USA overall US News & World Reports ranking
  • Labor Force: 392,703
  • Unemployment: 5.5%
  • Median Age: 37.1
  • Median Household Income: $69,278
  • Cost of Living Index: 111.7
  • Area: 1,806 mi2 / 4,678 km2
  • Population Growth Rate: 1.98%
  • Median Home Price: $349,400
  • Average Commute Time: 31 minutes
  • Gross Metro Product: $41.6 billion
  • Primary Industries: aerospace, government, healthcare, manufacturing, military, transportation & logistics

Workforce Talent Pipeline

Washington State offers a skilled, diverse workforce that is continuously fueled by globally recognized universities and community and technical colleges, as well as multiple military bases across the state. Each of these institutions prepares highly qualified workers for in-demand disciplines within established and emerging industries.

University of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, Pierce Colleges, Tacoma Community College, Clover Park Technical College, and Bates Technical College are among the many universities and other institutions of higher learning that prepare the region’s workforce.

Pierce County has an extremely competitive workforce in regards to training, quality and availability of workers while maintaining a high quality of living. All employment in Pierce County is expected to grow 1.2 percent annually over the next 10 years. Jobs that typically require a postgraduate degree are expected to grow the most of any category, at 1.8 percent per year.

Military Bases

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.

Pierce County median age is 36, population is growing

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Twenty-five regional colleges and universities, along with 36 technical schools, produce 56,800 graduates each year. Washington State’s 300+ accredited colleges, universities, and career schools are ranked among the best in the country, with the University of Washington coming in as the “Best Global University” (U.S. News and World Reports, 2018).

US News World Reports WA education ranked number 4 in USA


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.

With 34 colleges, award-winning instructors and state-of-the-art facilities, Washington State’s workforce is ready to meet your needs.

Pierce County, WA 2-yr higher ed institutions

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 composites to health care services to juniors and seniors from ten 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.

PIERCE COUNTY WA economic development Sarah Bonds edb staff

Sarah Bonds

Vice President for Business Recruitment

Contact Sarah

PIERCE COUNTY WA economic development Maddie Merton edb staff

Maddie Merton

Vice President for Business Retention and Expansion

Contact Maddie