Issue 4 | May 5, 2020
Stronger Together Spokane:
Workforce System Response to COVID-19
The state has released its phased approach to re-opening our economy, and we are working on plans to open all of our facilities when safe to do so. Currently, the disruption to key parts of our regional economy – including restaurants, retail stores, medical and dental practices, construction, and manufacturing – continues to add to a surge in the number of people applying for unemployment insurance benefits for the first time. We are helping meet the demand from our customers by expanding and improving our menu of online services and directing resources to where the needs are greatest. Over 7,000 job seekers and 500 businesses have been able to connect with staff over the past six weeks and get information to help them navigate during this crisis.

Our staff and partners are accelerating their efforts and actively working to ensure that our community has the support it needs – whether it’s information to help business, access to training for a new career, or how to find a job – as we make the transition to the next step in our economic recovery.
We are Stronger Together Spokane .

Mark Mattke
Chief Executive Officer
Labor Market Update
Weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance increased in the week ending April 25 to 7,794 claims in Spokane County. Notably, this increase does not include the gig and 1099 workers who have recently become eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance as part of the Federal CARES Act, as those numbers are currently only available at the statewide level. In the first week of expanded eligibility, 190,948 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims were made statewide.
Certain industries have been more affected than others by the impacts of COVID-19, and the gaps are widening. The six week total initial claims by industry shows that the industries experiencing the highest total of initial claims for unemployment insurance are Accommodation and Food Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade, Construction, and Manufacturing. For all industries, the six week total for initial claims in Spokane County is 53,530.
Statewide, since the week ending March 7 when COVID-19 job losses began:
  • A total of 787,533 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment insurance (UI)
  • 504,284 of those individuals have received UI payment
  • ESD has paid out nearly $1.5 billion in benefits to Washingtonians
New weekly online job postings dropped to 620 in the week ending May 2, the lowest weekly total since the COVID-19 impacts began. This total is less than half the weekly total for new online job postings observed prior to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. The employers posting the most new jobs online in the week ending May 2 are:
  • Providence Health and Services (23 new online job postings)
  • Home Depot (8)
  • Lowe’s (6)
  • Frontier Behavioral Health (6)
  • Volunteers of America (6)

For the week ending May 2, the top occupations posted online were:
  • Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver (31 new online job postings)
  • Registered Nurse (27)
  • Retail Sales Associate (17)
  • Physician (16)
  • Sales Representative (16)
  • Warehouse Worker (15)
  • Customer Service Representative (15)
  • Caregiver (11)
  • Administrative Assistant (10)
  • Merchandiser (10)

Data Sources: Washington State Employment Security Department/LMEA and Burning Glass Labor Insights
Service Delivery Updates
Although our physical centers remain closed, including WorkSource Spokane, Spokane Resource Center, Next Generation Zone and Talent Solutions, we have continued to serve job seeking and business customers virtually. Since closing on March 17, as a campus we have served 7,700 job seeking customers and 514 businesses. To meet the demand, each site is offering virtual services including webinars on layoff response and layoff aversion, career coaching, GED classes and more. Our leadership team is actively working on a return to work plan, including safety preparations, physical distancing protocols, customer flow and additional considerations. Below is information on each site’s offerings. 
WorkSource Spokane
WorkSource team members are hard at work developing new webinars and virtual workshops to help those individuals looking for work. They have also been assisting laid off workers with registering for offerings such as Federal Trade Act Assistance, and they have processed over 700 wage verification transactions to support people obtaining unemployment insurance benefits. Visit or call 509.532.3120 for more information.
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate being able to speak with someone right now. Thank you so much for your assistance during this difficult time."
- Jerry, WorkSource Customer
Talent Solutions
We continue to serve businesses and adapt offerings to meet specific needs during this time. We are pleased to announce that one week after opening registration for our pilot Virtual Job Fair, employer “booths” are already more than half full. The event will be held on May 21 - interested businesses, please visit the Spokane Workforce Council page for more information and to reserve your spot. Additional new offerings available to businesses include posting Featured Jobs on our Talent Solutions Facebook page. Requests are two weeks out, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to share information about a job you are seeking to fill. We are also maintaining an Immediate Employment Opportunities page on the WorkSource website, and we have partnered with Career Path Services to add temporary Talent Solutions consultants to assist the many businesses seeking our services.
"This has been a challenging time for my company. It was great to speak with someone about options for helping my employees and their families."
- Local Construction Company
Spokane Resource Center
The Spokane Resource Center continues to serve our community with virtual offerings ranging from housing assistance to connecting individuals with information about free WiFi. We are so proud of our community partners who have remained committed to the mission of the SRC, which is “ Replacing Challenges with Hope through Integrated Community Resources”. That mission continues to be more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, and SRC staff is ready to serve anyone in need of assistance including referrals. Call 509-867-8188 or visit for more information. 
Next Generation Zone
Students attending virtual GED classes through the Next Generation Zone continue to excel in their new environment. Our Education Team has created a process for students to check out a Chromebook that ensures students have access to the technology they need during this time. 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. We continue to prototype virtual internships, and we are pleased to have youth able to use technology to assist local businesses in partnership with the Talent Solutions Team. Please visit our Facebook page for updates:
Working With our Partners to Make Spokane Stronger, Together
In the News: In its April 23 issue, the Journal of Business highlighted the quick response of leaders and staff at sites across the WorkSource Spokane campus in light of the COVID-19 health crisis. Click here to read the story .

Better Health Together: Better Health Together is supporting community needs through their Navigator and Healthy Kids Together program. They are currently assisting community members affected by COVID-19 with health insurance needs, including signing up for Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) and selecting Qualified Health Plans off the marketplace. No one should be left uninsured. Call them today at 509-340-9008.