The Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy Capstone Presentations


The Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy, funded by SkillUp Washington and facilitated by The Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative was designed to provide emerging leaders in the sectoral workforce development field in the Seattle area with a unique professional development opportunity.  Beginning November 2012, fellows in the academy met regularly to reflect on and refine their workforce development strategies and build their personal leadership skills.  This group of fellows, who work in a variety of institutions including  public agencies, community-based nonprofits, workforce development councils, and community colleges, is helping to prepare unemployed and underemployed individuals for jobs in a wide range of sectors such as health care, construction, information technology, and manufacturing.  As part of the academy, fellows worked in teams to select, develop and conduct a capstone or research project to investigate a workforce development issue of their choice.  On September 26, 2013 the fellows presented their findings from these capstone projects.


Presentation Summaries

Bringing Employers and Community Based Training Organizations Together: Lessons Learned from the Healthcare Sector

This group’s data, focused on the Seattle-area healthcare industry, proposes to develop a set of reliable guidelines and speaking points designed to bring the services of community colleges and community-based organizations to the forefront for local employers when hiring entry-level positions and training incumbent workers for advancement.  Based upon current labor-market research, an exploration of existing activities in our region, and interviews with stakeholders in the healthcare industry, this project’s goal is to pinpoint gaps and recommend more effective strategies for partnership and connection to better engage employers and training organizations.

While this project team works with a variety of industries, due to the high level of demand and job openings in the Seattle area, this study is focused on entry-level healthcare employment.

Click to download the presentation: pdf Employer Engagement Healthcare.pdf


Sharing Data Across Systems to Improve Workforce Development Outcomes in the Greater Seattle Area

Fellows involved in this project will present an overview of data sharing challenges and opportunities faced by local workforce development system stakeholders, as well as existing efforts to share cross-sector data in our state, such as the Education Research and Data Center (ERDC) and Washington State's participation in the national Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC).  We will discuss with stakeholders how this data may be accessed by workforce development organizations and partnerships in order to make organizational, partnership and system improvements. The fellows will outline some of the limitations and challenges presented in these data-sharing efforts and will facilitate a conversation with stakeholders regarding potential recommendations for improving the accessibility of this data, expanding data collected for more effective evaluation (such as occupation and/or participant level employment data), and encouraging our state's participation in national efforts to share data for training and education program evaluation (such as the Wage Record Interchange System 2, known as WRIS 2).

Click to download the presentation: pdf Sharing Data Across Systems to Improve Workforce Development Outcomes in the Greater Seattle Area.pdf


Reaching the Hard to Reach: The Challenge of Spreading the Message of Workforce Development

Communicating about what the workforce development system does is very challenging, both among practitioners within that system, and to potential users of the system. There is a serious question about whether or not that communication is being done effectively. This group will report research findings from a variety of workforce stakeholders concerning the system’s ability to communicate with diverse communities.   The group will also provide recommendations for how the workforce development system can improve its communication capacity, both about how the system operates and what value of the system is or could be to our society and economy.

Click to download the presentation: pdf Reaching the Hard to Reach.pdf


For more information regarding the Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy, please contact Ashley Plaga at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Latest Research

  • Economic Opportunity Center Feasibility Study

    The City of Seattle in cooperation with SkillUp Washington, Impact Capital and SouthEast Effective Development (SEED) examined the feasibility of integrating multicultural service delivery at a single location accessible along the light rail line. This project stemmed from the legislature’s interest in replicating the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education model located on the campus of North Seattle Community College. Examined here is the possibility of creating a similar Center in Southeast Seattle that could help people get an education, get a job, or grow a business, and the findings suggest that such an Economic Opportunity Center is needed in and desired by the community.

    Download the Executive Summary: EOC: Executive Summary

    Download the Full Report:EOC: Final Report


    To request a hardcopy of the Executive Summary or the full report, please email Ashley Plaga at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it