Workforce SW Washington CEO to retire, applications being accepted

After six years as CEO of Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), the nonprofit that oversees programs that help employers recruit workers and provide job training to adults and youth in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, Jeanne Bennett will retire in June.

WSW will start an immediate search to replace Bennett, but will focus on current, local workforce system staff and partners.

“Jeanne has strengthened relationships with our partners, taken communications to a whole new level and assembled a great team,” said Bill Skidmore, vice chair of WSW’s board of directors who is leading the recruitment search team. “We’re going to miss her.”

To learn how to apply for the CEO position and view the job description, go to and click the link in the “news” section in the bottom right corner of the home page.

During Bennett’s tenure, WSW sought and received millions of dollars in competitive grant funds, enabling it to provide the Southwest Washington community with numerous workforce training programs, including YouthBuild, YouthWorks, LEAP (a partnership with the Clark County Jail), South Kelso Youth Construction Project, among others. WSW has also been instrumental in launching career fairs for high school students in Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties, shifting workforce programs to an industry focus to ensure local companies have the skilled workers they need and job seekers are receiving training in sectors projected to have jobs and grow in the future.

“It has been a privilege to serve as CEO of WSW and to work in this community and with an amazing staff who I know will continue to make the workforce system effective for businesses, workers and youth in our region,” said Jeanne Bennett.

Before becoming WSW’s CEO in February 2012, Bennett spent five years as executive director of the Mount St. Helens Institute. She also worked at Educational Service District 112.

Joanna Yorke-Payne
Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start

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