Workforce Investment Dollars Pack Economic Punch

Each dollar invested in workforce returns $10+ to local economy

SEATTLE—New research shows that federal Workforce Investment Act funding returns $10.45 for every dollar invested in Seattle-King County. What’s more, $146 million will be generated for our economy by the adults and youth placed in jobs by Workforce Investment Act programs during just one program year.

“This astonishing figure shows the ripple effect of investing in workforce development,” said Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “These programs are quietly making a huge contribution to our local economy—while changing the lives of jobseekers and young people.”

The WDC commissioned the study by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. (EMSI) to examine the economic benefits generated by federal workforce dollars in the community of Seattle-King County. The researchers determined the lifelong earnings of the customers placed in jobs by in Program Year 2009 to determine the effect on the economy. This “income effect” is $80.1 million for the 247 job placements in the WIA adult program; $52 million for the 328 job placements in the dislocated worker program; and $13.8 million for the 123 youth who were placed—for a total of $146 million.

“Far more people stand to benefit from the investment than just the original investors—in this case, the taxpayers,” the researchers wrote. “Job seekers are beneficiaries of higher incomes, employers are beneficiaries of increased worker productivity, the community as a whole is a beneficiary of reduced unem¬ployment costs, increased tax collections, and so on.”

In addition to the long-term wages generated, the study also looked at the number of people employed directly by the WDC and its contractors, and the “ripple effect” from these operations. These directly and indirectly generated $22.5 million in income and supported 427 jobs.

To read the entire report:


The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County ( is a nonprofit workforce “think tank” and grant-making organization that oversees employment-related programs for youth, the adult workforce and employers in King County, with the goal of a strong economy and self-sufficiency for every resident.


Highlighted Events

Latest Research

  • Hospital Frontline Worker Green Training Project

    Great things happen when frontline workers become a more integrated part of hospital care teams and work hand in hand with labor-management to design “green” projects and take a lead in the their implementation. 

    The Seattle-based Frontline Workers Green Training Projects is a SkillUp funded case study surrounding labor/management partners engaging frontline workers to lead hospital environmental sustainability efforts, supporting: people (patients, workers, the community)the planet (the environment); and profits (costs).

    Download the report:  Frontline Workers Green Training Project.pdf

Featured Video