The Council is a 27 member board responsible for governance and oversight of the workforce development system in Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties.   Authorized under the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), the Council convenes private and public sectors to address workforce development issues.

Led by a business majority, the Council includes representation from businesses, labor, education, economic development and government. The Council, in partnership with local elected officials, operates using a strategic plan whose regional strategies support the state’s strategic workforce plan while addressing local issues and economic development priorities.


The Council is dedicated to addressing the full spectrum of workforce needs through an outcome and customer based model that addresses the needs of both employers and job seekers.   We envision that a cohesive workforce strategy created through the common goals of business, education, labor, and community organizations will yield strong economic outcomes and an adaptable and skilled workforce.

Advocating for Regional Workforce Needs

The Council identifies current and future workforce trends, needs and priorities, and works with stakeholders and constituencies to execute priority initiatives.  The Council is the regional advocate for efforts to identify sector-specific strategies that better align education, economic and workforce development initiatives.  The Council ensures the local perspective is incorporated in state and national policy forums.

Building a Skilled Workforce

The Council’s core business is to improve the ability of our workforce to meet the demands of business and industry.  Our system provides an array of business services, with resource investment in targeted industries.  Innovative solutions are drawn from vibrant partnerships and through strategic resource investment of training and the leveraging of other public/private funds.

Targeting Industry Sectors

The Council is a leader in convening industry, education, economic development and labor around industry-specific issues in multiple venues and formats.  Industry panels, public–private partnerships working together to improve the skills of workers in industries vital to our region, are one such forum.  Industry panels continuously examine the workforce needs of industries they serve and create action plans to meet those needs.  The Council executes these action plans through its strong, collaborative partnerships and through its resource investment of training dollars and other funds.

Investing in Training

The Council provides financial resources to qualified individuals for occupational or technical education programs and customized training in high demand occupations.  Through resource leveraging with public and private investments, the Council targets its training resources to increase the number of workers on the high skill path and make certain the skill gap is narrowed for employers.