CEO Blog

Dec 12, 2023

Charting Pathways: Highlights from the Future of Work Summit & Expo 2023

I am thrilled to write to you today about the incredible success of the recent Future of Work Summit & Expo, held on October 24, 2023, at the Great Wolf Lodge. We at Pacific Mountain Workforce Development (PacMtn) are immensely proud to have been a sponsor of this impactful event, organized and hosted by the dedicated team at the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. They orchestrated a day filled with insightful discussions, valuable connections, and innovative ideas, bringing together businesses, educators, students, and community leaders to shape the future of workforce development and education.

The day featured an array of engaging sessions led by prominent figures in our community including PacMtn staff and board members. Dan Cooling, PacMtn’s Chief Program Officer, and Leon Ross, PacMtn’s Partner Engagement Manager, shared their expertise on unlocking the potential of justice-impacted talent. Jacquelin Earley, Workforce Development and Recruitment Coordinator at Sierra Pacific Industries and PacMtn Board Member, discussed building staff engagement and youth talent pipeline development through youth apprenticeships. Lorie Thompson, Regional Network Director with Capital STEM Alliance and PacMtn Board Member, shed light on career prep internships and the financial incentives available for employers. Christina Riley, Labor, and Apprenticeship Representative and PacMtn Board Member, provided valuable insights into solving the skills gap through best practices. Additionally, our attendees were inspired by a captivating keynote address from Donny Jones, The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama Executive Vice President and CWO, encouraging us to join the conversation about building pathways for career seekers of all ages.

The Future of Work Summit served as a platform for businesses, educators, and students to come together and explore various aspects of workforce development and education. Businesses had the opportunity to foster vital community relationships with educators and fellow business owners, setting the stage for meaningful collaborations.

For students and educators, the summit provided a unique inside view of regional businesses actively seeking ways to engage with local schools. Participants learned how to find and apply for apprenticeship and internship programs, connecting directly with business leaders who emphasized the importance of their involvement in classrooms and engagement with students. These interactions were invaluable, bridging the gap between education and the workforce and offering students a glimpse into their future careers.

Now, more than ever, it is crucial for businesses, educators, and students to join forces and prioritize building the necessary skills for our future talent pipeline. The Future of Work Summit was a significant step in this direction, offering a platform for collaboration, learning, and inspiration.

I want to express my gratitude to everyone who participated, from the speakers and presenters to the attendees and partners, especially the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce for their exceptional organization of this event. Your active engagement made this event a resounding success. Let us continue this momentum, fostering a community where businesses, educators, and students collaborate to create a brighter, more skilled future workforce.


William Westmoreland
CEO, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development