Issue 1 | April 14, 2020
Stronger Together Spokane
Workforce System Response to COVID-19
Our region is facing extraordinary challenges due to the effects of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Efforts to keep people safe and slow the spread of the virus have resulted in record numbers of workers being laid off and many businesses temporarily closing, slowing down, or shifting to remote work. The Spokane Workforce Council is working with our community partners to help people and businesses navigate the many services and resources available at this time and access the support needed to successfully weather this crisis.

Please read the report below to see what we are tracking to help understand the impacts upon our economy and how our workforce team is innovating to stay connected and provide vital services to our community. We are Stronger Together Spokane .

Mark Mattke
Chief Executive Officer
Labor Market Update as of April 10, 2020
Initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) have seen a dramatic increase over the last three weeks as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Since the week ending March 21, Spokane County has seen 32,285 total initial claims for UI. The industries most impacted are:
  • Accommodation and Food Services (6,599 three-week initial claims total)
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance (4,639)
  • Retail Trade (3,897)
  • Construction (2,960)
  • Other Services (1,802)
As shown above, people employed in Food Preparation and Serving occupations have submitted the most initial claims for UI over the last three weeks in Spokane County, nearly double the amount of claims of the next highest occupation group. More than half of the Food Preparation and Serving initial claims were filed in the week ending March 21 , the first week affected by the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order with 3,300 claims. In the week ending April 4, Management occupations filed the most initial claims with 1,305 total, and Construction occupations filed 1,294 initial claims, both higher than the occupation-specific totals from the prior week ending March 28.
Although the crisis has upended how many businesses can continue to operate and in what capacity, many companies continue to post new online job openings and hire new staff. The weekly new online job postings totals have dropped in Spokane County by hundreds of jobs as compared to before the crisis. However, 720 new online jobs were posted in the week ending April 11.

Industries with the largest number of job postings in the last week:
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance (225 job postings)
  • Finance and Insurance (53 job postings)
  • Retail Trade (43 job postings)
  • Public Administration (36 job postings)
  • Educational Services (31 job postings)

The most posted-for job titles in the last week were:
  • Registered Nurse
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Software Development Engineer
  • Cashier

The Spokane Workforce Council has been working quickly to coordinate services across the WorkSource Spokane campus to serve community members and businesses in this new context. Teams at all of our sites have been stepping up in a big way to creatively offer solutions to those in need. Read on for more information about how to connect to the services and resources available through our system.
Service Delivery Updates
WorkSource Spokane
Although our physical center has been closed to customers since March 17, team WorkSource Spokane is available by phone to assist local workers affected by business closures or loss of hours. WorkSource has seen a 42% increase in calls for assistance in the last two weeks. To meet the demand, they are now offering virtual career coaching and are adding virtual workshops to the website. Workshops already available include Successful Interviewing, Effective Résumés and Strategic Job Search. Visit or call 509.532.3120 for more information.
Talent Solutions
Many businesses are facing difficult decisions about temporary closures, furloughs, layoffs and more. The WorkSource Talent Solutions team is available to help businesses navigate this challenging time, including providing information about the Shared Work program and other state and federal programs.

Some sectors, including healthcare, grocery, and shipping, are short-staffed and looking to hire. The WorkSource Talent Solutions team is maintaining a list of immediate employment opportunities to help make quick employment connections between essential businesses and job seekers.
All of these resources are available at , or call 509.532.3186 for more information. 
Talent Solutions has seen a 156% weekly increase in requested consultation services, which are delivered virtually by a certified business services consultant.
"We were super impressed with how quickly the WorkSource Talent Solutions Team was able to get our immediate openings posted on their social media and website. We needed to fill over 100 positions ASAP, and through the TST's posts, we had more than enough qualified applications show up for interviews and filled all the positions within 24 hours."
- T.S, General Manager, Rosauer's Grocery Stores
Spokane Resource Center
The Spokane Resource Center brings together community assets in one place to assist individuals with avoiding homelessness or overcoming barriers when facing unexpected challenges. That mission is more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, and we have seen a consistent number of weekly customers despite moving to virtual services. The SRC team is ready to help connect anyone in need of assistance with community resources, including food banks, free WiFi hotspots, financial assistance, clothing, help with other benefits like SSI, and housing. Call 509-867-8188 or visit for more information.
Next Generation Zone
During mandatory school closure, the Next Generation Zone is providing virtual GED classes, workshops, and career coaching. Course offerings include Life Skills, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts and Science. The team moved quickly to create to house these virtual offerings. The site has already been recognized by State of Washington representatives as a best practice.
Additionally, Next Gen staff members are prototyping virtual internships using Google Hangouts and are partnering with YouthBuild and Spokane Public Schools to ensure students have access to breakfast and lunch.
As the graph indicates, Next Gen saw a 275% increase in customer service interactions between March 30 and April 3, and another 29% increase the following week.

Visit their Facebook page for updates: .
Working With our Partners to Make Spokane Stronger, Together
WorkSource/KHQ Job Fair: We have chosen to postpone this year’s job fair, originally scheduled to be held May 21. In the meantime, KHQ is still partnering with us to get the word out about our system's service offerings as well as how our community can come together to help keep struggling businesses afloat. Click here to read the story that aired April 6 on the evening news.

Spokane COVID Response: We are working with a larger inter-agency group dedicated to providing the greater Spokane area with accurate information during the Coronavirus outbreak. Our CEO Mark Mattke and WorkSource One-Stop Operator Kevin Williams shared up-to-date information at the April 8 Press Conference. Click here to watch the Facebook ive of the event.