Workforce Southwest Washington CEO Jeanne Bennett is retiring after six years of leading the employee training and recruitment organization.
Bennett said she made the decision to spend more time with her husband, children and grandchildren. She will officially retire in June.
During her tenure, Bennett has helped focus job training on the sectors of manufacturing, construction, health and technology; and helped put in place more programs focusing on jobs for young adults. She said programs today take a more tailored approach to get a business the kinds of employees they can use.
“The way I usually explain it is that back in the day, we had a train-and-pray model, in that we would train them and prayed they would get a job,” she said. She added that they listen more carefully to specific industries as their jobs and demands change.
“If we invest in their training, they will get a job because they have exactly what a business wants,” she said.
Before joining Workforce Southwest Washington, Bennett directed the Mount St. Helens Institute, worked for Educational Service District 112 and staffed offices for two members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Workforce Southwest Washington was founded in 2002 to help streamline employment in Southwest Washington. Its focus has been bridging prospective employers with workers in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.
“Jeanne has strengthened relationships with our partners, taken communications to a whole new level and assembled a great team,” said Bill Skidmore, a director on the organization’s board, in a prepared statement. “We’re going to miss her.”