Issue 2 | April 21, 2020
Stronger Together Spokane:
Workforce System Response to COVID-19
As businesses and workers throughout our region are impacted by the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus, we are helping to meet their immediate needs and provide a connection to local, state, and federal resources. Our workforce system staff are using technology to provide assistance with finding a job or attending a training program, answering questions about applying for unemployment insurance benefits and where to find community resources, and getting essential businesses access to workers so they can keep their doors open.

We will get through the current crisis, and as we make progress toward the economic recovery that will follow, we are committed to serving our community and partnering in creating solutions that ensure everyone comes out of this positioned for greater success.
We are Stronger Together Spokane .
Mark Mattke
Chief Executive Officer
Labor Market Update
Spokane County added another 8,382 initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) in the week ending April 11. This bring the total initial claims for the last four weeks to 40,667.

Note: As part of the CARES Act, gig workers and 1099 workers have also become eligible for emergency UI. Changes to the Washington State unemployment filing system went into effect over the weekend, and as result, we expect to see a substantial increase in initial UI claims for the week ending April 24. Claims information for the previous week is released each Thursday.
Industries with the highest concentration of initial claims for the week ending April 11:
  • Retail Trade (1,226 initial claims)
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance (880)
  • Accommodation and Food Service (871)
  • Construction (860)

Over the last four weeks, Accommodation and Food Service is the most heavily impacted industry, with 7,470 total initial claims for unemployment insurance.
As shown above, Food Preparation and Serving is by far the most heavily-impacted occupation group by total initial claims over the past four weeks. Looking at the week ending April 11, this occupation experienced the most initial claims in one week, at 935. Sales and Related occupations was the occupation group with the second-highest concentration of initial claims, at 910. Management occupations and Construction occupations, which experienced the highest numbers of initial claims in the previous week ending April 4, came in third and fourth for the week ending April 11, with 898 and 859 initial claims, respectively.
New online job postings increased slightly over the past week, with 746 postings for the week ending April 18. This total remains more than 500 fewer job postings per week than the totals observed before the COVID-19 impacts began. The Healthcare and Social Assistance industry saw the most new online job postings this past week with 181 total. Individual businesses with the most new jobs posted online in Spokane County over the past week were:
  • Starbucks Coffee Company (39 new online job postings)
  • Providence Health & Services (37)
  • Spokane Public Schools (19)
  • Touchmark (18)
  • Lowe’s (12)

Data Sources: Washington State Employment Security Department/LMEA and Burning Glass Labor Insights
Service Delivery Updates
O ur campus, including WorkSource Spokane, Spokane Resource Center, Next Generation Zone and Talent Solutions, has been closed to customers since March 17. Our teams are available by phone to assist both workers and businesses impacted by closures or loss of hours. WorkSource Campus sites have continued to see customer volumes near or above pre-COVID levels. To meet the demand, they are offering virtual services including layoff response, layoff aversion, career coaching, various workshops, support services, and GED classes. Below are updates on each site’s offerings. 
WorkSource Spokane
WorkSource has served 3,857 customers remotely or virtually since March 17 th . Virtual workshop offerings have been expanded and include Successful Interviewing, Effective Résumés and Strategic Job Search. Visit or call 509.532.3120 for more information.
WorkSource Customers Served March 20 - April 17
"Thank you so much for your insight regarding my résumé. I really appreciate it! Your assistance has made a huge difference in guiding me in the right direction. So glad I was still able to connect with you via phone. Your website was super helpful as well."
- WorkSource Customer
"You will find compassionate and friendly people at WorkSoruce. They will meet you where you are at, no judgment, and offer whatever help they can to meet your needs. If they can't help you directly, they will get you in touch with people who can."
- WorkSource Customer
Talent Solutions
We know many businesses are facing difficult decisions about temporary closures, furloughs, layoffs and more. The WorkSource Talent Solutions team has been adapting services and studying the myriad of new federal and state resources in order to help businesses navigate this new environment. Our certified business services consultants are ready to assist employers with layoff aversion, including providing information about Shared Work program and other state and federal programs. The team continues to see high numbers of businesses seeking services, with a total of 69 businesses served in the week ending April 17. Types of requests are showing a greater variety than the last few weeks, in which a high concentration of businesses were seeking assistance filling immediate job openings.

Resources are available at , or call 509.532.3186 for more information. 
Services Sought by Businesses - April 13-17
"The Talent Solutions Team was great! We had a quick turnaround on some layoffs due to rapid market declines in both the Oil and Gas market and Coronavirus. The team was a great resource to help us through this difficult time. I appreciate so much the quick attention and follow-up on questions. The online process is well thought out and easy to navigate. Our employee packets to help them navigate life post-layoff were easy to put together with the support of WorkSource. It was amazing to see the work that went into converting from an in-house assistance model to a remote model in such a short timeframe. Kudos to the WorkSource team for a job well done. "
- Local Employer
Spokane Resource Center
SRC Grand Opening, April 16, 2019
April 16 marked the one-year anniversary of opening the Spokane Resource Center. In that year, the site has served 3,500 individuals, has outfitted 100 people with first day of work or interview clothing, has launched an equity and financial stability center, and is staffed by representatives from 18 community organizations and non-profits. Although we didn't get a chance to celebrate the site's anniversary in person, we look forward to being together again soon to share in our appreciation for the community coming forward to create the Spokane Resource Center. Special thanks to our founding partners: HUD, the City of Spokane, and Spokane Housing Authority.

The mission of the SRC is Replacing Challenges with Hope through Integrated Community Resources. That mission is more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, and the SRC continues to serve the community with virtual offerings ranging from housing assistance to connecting individuals with information about free WiFi and so much more. SRC staff members are ready to serve anyone in need of assistance including referrals. Call 509-867-8188 or visit for more information. 
"Staff at the Spokane Resource Center rocks. I appreciate their friendliness. They never make me feel like I'm an inconvenience. Thank you for helping me and other families in our community during the difficult time."
- Spokane Resource Center customer
Next Generation Zone
Virtual GED classes have launched, and students are thriving as much as possible in their new environment. Classes are being recorded and shared on the Open Doors YouTube Channel should a student not be able to attend the live virtual session or needs to revisit material. In even bigger news, students can now take their GED test online with a proctor available via webcam. We're thankful to YouthBuild for their partnership in making this offering available. Additional virtual offerings include work readiness workshops and career coaching. The Next Generation Zone is also prototyping virtual internships. Please visit their Facebook page for updates: .
"The interns from the Next Generation Zone have been helping our business to improve our ability to communicate with our customers in an online world through social media and online platforms. Their work has helped us pivot quickly with today’s challenges and communicate in a way that is relevant."
-Local non-profit business  
Working With our Partners to Make Spokane Stronger, Together
Hiring Events: Currently, in-person hiring events are not possible. We have been working with state partners and the WorkSource Talent Solutions Team to identify ways to facilitate virtual hiring events. The first offering available is the WorkSource Spokane Featured Jobs group on Facebook. Anyone who joins the group will be able to see a list of events that will highlight different local businesses that are hiring. Job seekers who join an event for a given business will be able to have live discussion with recruiters to learn about job openings, company culture, how to apply and more - all via Facebook. Check out the group at

Supporting City of Spokane Initiatives:
  • Financial Helpline: The City of Spokane has partnered with the Spokane Public Library to provide a Financial Helpline for all businesses and individuals county-wide to help callers navigate the maze of local, state and federal resources available for COVID-19 relief. WorkSource is helping to educate the Library's Resource Navigators regarding resources available through our system, as well as helping to answer question related to Unemployment Insurance benefits.
  • Small Business Loan Program: The City of Spokane is planning to launch a funding program for local small businesses on April 22 to help fill some of the gaps left by federal aid. We will be supporting this program and helping to spread the word about these resources.
More information on these resources and other efforts from the city to support local citizens and businesses can be found here: