Regional workforce council adds 12 members

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council said Monday it has added 12 members to boost its ability to collaborate with key growth industries and to further line up its training and employment services with industry needs.

The nonprofit group, which provides job training and employment services to businesses, job seekers and youth in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, has added representatives from the following sectors: manufacturing, information technology/software, construction, health care, and finance and transportation/logistics.

The new representatives give the development council "greater insight into the training and hiring needs for these industries," John Vanderkin, chairman of the development council, said in a news release. "It's important to have them at the table, and we're pleased they're engaged in the workforce system."

The new representatives are:

• Bob Carroll, business representative, IBEW Local 48.

• Renny Christopher, vice chancellor for academic affairs, Washington State University Vancouver.

• Traci Eshelman, human resources manager, Thompson Metal Fab.

• Kelley Foy, human resources manager, Columbia Machine.

• Cliff Glass, transportation manager, United Natural Foods Inc.

• Keath Huff, systems engineer and account manager, Utilize I.T., Inc.

• Mike Lemmons, mortgage loan officer, Republic Mortgage Home Loans.

• Michele Mulhern, vocational rehabilitation lead counselor, Department of Social and Health Services.

• Denise Smith, chief operating officer, Rebound Orthopedics & Neurosurgery.

• Paige Spratt, attorney, Immix Law Group PC.

• Bruce Warrick, continuous improvement manager, Kapstone Paper.

• Ed Barnes, Clark County commissioner.

The development council also made executive committee appointments. They are:

• Vanderkin, president of Employers Overload, council chairman.

• Angela Simmons, staff development specialist at iQ Credit Union, vice chairwoman.

• Mindy Heuer, accountant at the Port of Kalama, treasurer.

Founded in 2002, the development council is one of 12 workforce investment boards in the state. The boards were launched under the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998. "We're focusing additional resources on our region's projected high-growth, high-demand industries to ensure employers have a pool of local talent from which to choose and residents have the skills they need to get the jobs of today and tomorrow," Executive Director Jeanne Bennett said in a news release.