Meeting Information

Meeting Type
Friday Coalition Meeting
Friday, 7/26/2019
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
Skookum Contract Services - learn how to connect with an organization that provides people with disabilities employment in logistics and facilities management. Workforce Central and partners will provide information on their projects and initiatives. Valeo Vocation and Goodwill will also provide overviews of their services and how to connect in.
The Salvation Army Church (1110 S Puget Sound Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405)



Skookum Contract Services -

  • Sierra Hinrichsen, Human Resources Generalist -
  • How many are familiar with what we do? – (a few said yes –ed.)
  • Have you heard of the Ability One Program – one person knows (everyone can know if they just follow this link… - -ed)
  • Many aren’t familiar with this program – it is what makes our organization unique in the community
  • Mission –
    • Create opportunities for people with disabilities.  Not looking to create just jobs – many need more than a job to  be successful. 
    • Video (the video is a bunch of folks making brief statements about Skookum – I jotted down a few of them below.  See the full video at for the full experience. –ed. )
      • People notice you are different – from birth or accident.
      • I lost my left leg to a drunk driver
      • PTSD is a living nightmare (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD - often sounds to me like a “new” diagnosis, and it sort of is.  It first appeared in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980.  But the diagnosis is essentially the “Shell Shock” from WWI and “Combat Stress Reaction” from WWII – just renamed and better understood because of the struggles of many veterans returning from the Vietnam war. It’s gone by other names – “soldier’s heart” in the civil war, and with symptoms described in ancient text, probably other phrases lost to time. Obviously, it doesn’t take combat action to suffer from PTSD, but it a clear byproduct of war.  And I’m sure we’ll see the term PTSD morph or be replaced as time goes by – the “D” is often dropped because of the stigma of being diagnosed with a disorder can be a barrier to people asking for help.  –ed.).   
      • 4 years ago I was shot 4 times
      • People saw me as a person in a wheelchair (a big reason why people-first language – “a person using a wheelchair” vs. a “wheelchair user” helps us to always identify the humanity of the person first, and the characteristic of them – dark hair, abilities, etc, second. –ed)
      • Skookum is a contact service company – that prefers people with disabilities (self-employment for people with disabilities is twice what it is for the general population.  Often it isn’t that these folks can’t work, but employers just won’t hire them.  I can go on with stats like this all day – that is what 5 years as a volunteer on the Tacoma Area Commission on Disabilities will do for you.  If you’re interested in disabilities issues, the Commission is a great place to learn and make an impact.  It is where I first met Al, too – so it has that going for it - . –ed)
      • People with disabilities often aren’t allowed to give back to society
      • The magic here is that you can help people realize their dreams
      • What makes us unique isn’t what we do, it is how we do it.
      • We manage 15 million square feet of facilities (that is like 68 Tacoma domes, which is probably more Tacoma Domes than are probably needed. Fun story, when they were building the Tacoma Dome, there was a day you could come and sign your name on one of the big beams that formed the roof. Emotional 10-year old me was pissed off about something, so decided to punish my mom by refusing to go.  So she just took my brother, who has his name on one of the beams. I don’t have my name on one of the beams. Not my best moment. I think about that every time I’m in the Dome. I can’t remember the date of my wedding anniversary, but that memory will be with me forever. –ed)
      • We do Laundry service, grounds keeping, maintenance
      • We compete for project – nothing is handed to us.
      • Got my self-esteem back, and my personality back
      • Elated I have this amazing team that trusts me
      • All of the people we employ do the hard work and make it happen for themselves – we are just opening the door them.
      • The benefits ripple through their community and family life and their society.
      • I can do anything I want to – I said to the nurses that if they could get me better and get me through this I would make good with my life, and I did.
  • I am a HR generalist – based out of JBLM.  Someone stopped in – they were a longtime employee of 8 years that was experiencing homelessness.  He struggled with a learning disability and mental health his whole life – got kicked out of family homes – has a wife and daughter – had no resource and no idea what to do next.  Luckily I work for an organization that lets me work on these issues for our employees.  Met Gerrit and he invited me here (you’ve got to admit that was a good idea –ed).
  • We have lots of business lines –
    • 22% of adults in US have a disability of some kind – gets in the way of employment for a variety of reasons.  Doing the work can be difficult when employers don’t know how to support those needs.
    • US government came up with Ability One program – only available to companies that meet a set of requirements can bid on them.  Part of our business is community support services.  We have job coaches to help Department of Vocation Rehabilitation (DVR) customers to find work within Skookum and with other employers.  We have to show we can provide accommodations – so we have vocational specialists on staff.. They literally go out and check on employees – often that is all the extra support employees need
  • history –
    • founded by Jim Westall – special education teacher in Port Townsend
    • Video – of our roots – from small company to over 1,000 employees with > 75% having a documentable disability (I couldn’t find this video link, but I took some notes –ed.)
      • Jim Westall Narrates:
      • I was the first employee of Skookum
      • Skookum – Northwest Indians from Alaska down to Oregon couldn’t communicate with each other because of different languages.  – made a trade language (Chinuk Wawa or often called Chinook – info at .-ed)– in that language –Skookum meant “high quality, well built, lots of integrity”. It was an ideal name that reflected the value I had for the company. 
      • I was working at the Port Townsend school district – at a time of deinstitutionalization – had huge influx of people with disabilities – needed a program for them.  Taught them life skills and work skills.  We started making jump ropes – a way to learn hand-eye coordination and sequencing skills – setting up a manufacturing company that actually did business and made money – the students could get paid for what they did, and teach them about money and buying things and all the things.  Take them from institutions to deinstitutionalization – teach them what work was like. 
  • Now have over 1,200 employees  - a $150M company.
  • We are a 501(c)(3) – operate nationwide – in 11 states and the District of Columbia – all revenue goes to better supports or more opportunities. 
  • Most customers are federal government, mostly on military installations.
  • Main goal is to provide meaningful jobs and customer support
  • Government doesn’t care about our mission – they are all about us getting the work done right (Oh, I bet they do care – they’re just the stoic type that don’t show so many emotions. –ed)
  • An employee with a disability doesn’t do less work or lower quality work, they just may need an accommodation.  We don’t take duties away, but provide accommodations as needed.  We have to prove to our customers we can do this each and every time. (I’ve read this bullet point a few times – I rather like it. –ed)
  • We have 706 employees with disabilities – 6 Purple hearts – 422 US veterans – basically the entire executive team are veterans. 
  • Types of disabilities – employees provide documentation of disabilities and impact
    • Muscular/skeletal disabilities which impacts mobility
    • Sensory –sight and hearing
    • Cognitive
    • Invisible – mental health diagnosis – do training for employees on mental health first aid so they can support their coworkers
  • Difference between disability and ability – everyone deserves to showcase their talents and has value in the workplace.  This seems similar to people experiencing homelessness – it is easy to lose dignity and self-respect when you lose your job – we can see from the first day of orientation where new employees go from not taking care of themselves to being attentive to hygiene and taking pride in dress.  The client I mentioned earlier is paying off debt and is working on removing evictions.
  • Washington is where we are based – so we have a lots of work in this area.  Our contracts are mostly at JBLM – vehicle maintenance, custodial, sanitation (porta potties), central issues facility – distributing uniforms.  Have contracts in Bremerton too. 
  • Just purchased an aerospace manufacturing facility from a similar employer – looking to fill it with veteran employees as that fits Boeing’s priorities.
  • Have large footprint on the East Coast – start one or two new contracts per year. 

Core Values

  • Integrity
  • Quality
  • Partnership
    • Huge part of our business, and why we are successful today.
    • Able to maintain business through community partners. 
    • We rely a lot on referrals from Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to staff our contracts – that isn’t the only way we staff, but a big way we do that
    • How can Skookum partner with you or your organizations?
      • If you have people interested in employment that have a disability
      • They do have a competitive process – they apply on-line and mark disability or veteran (go to to browse careers and apply – ed)
      • Give preference to vets and people with disabilities – and through Ability One we can ask if they have a disability and we can source that documentation.  I can provide more about those documentation needs
      • Carved jobs – occasionally someone reaches out – a parent with a child with a severe developmental disability – and want the child to work 10 hours a week.  We will sometimes do a carved job – to give the person value and have somewhere to go during the day.  If you have someone you know interested, we would work to make that happen.
      • Question - How about disabled veteran with a criminal charge? Sierra  - aerospace would be best for that – fewer requirements than the background check needed on a federal installation.  Probably refer to aerospace facility.  We do hire with a bad background – misdemeanors considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Why work here?
    • Vocational specialist on site to provide accommodation (if I spell accommodation with just one “m” one more time and have to go correct it I’m going to lose my mind. –ed) and support – available 24x7 for assistance or just someone to talk to
    • Really support employees finding employment elsewhere – goal is to train and have them go somewhere else and expand their career.  We have entry level folks coming into janitorial.
    • Drug testing done for Commercial Drivers License (CDL) drivers and at the aerospace facility – don’t drug test others.
    • Work on resume writing, career skills, provide time to go to interviews.
    • Managers are veterans or have disabilities and are very understanding – knowing employees might need to go the VA for a half day.
    • ADA is a challenging process – for employees and employers.  At Skookum, that is everyday – from the start – even if they don’t know they need them
    • Competitive wages and full benefits.  Pay over minimum wage on all jobs. 
  • I work with youth with MH – they can’t work so many hours – they youth are just walking around.  We need things for them to do.  I’d love to get them into something like this. Sierra – a carved position may be a good thing.
  • Joy – do they work their way up from a carved position? I’d think you can start there but get to 40 hours per week.  Sierra – it depends on the situation – it is difficult with the carved positions because they aren’t a contracted position
  • Al – shared jobs – two people doing one job?  Sierra – don’t do that, but maybe in the future.  At our home office, we do share a janitorial job between two.
  • Question – accommodation – is individual-paced training possible for someone with severe disabilities? – Sierra – yes definitely – if they have a job coach they  can bring them with them, we provide support too.


Workforce Central -

  • Sara Irish, Community Engagement Ambassador, Worksource Pierce - (I want ambassador in my job title – that sounds so cool –ed).
  • Jesse Becerra, Young Adult Program Coordinator, Workforce Central -
  • One of 12 local workforce boards in Washington – one of 600 in the United States, starting in 1982
  • Provide education and training with employment to get family sustainable wages (a family wage is a “wage sufficient to raise a family” – a concept used in contemporary wage discussions that many attribute to Catholic Social Teaching.  I think it should be a wage that you can live comfortably on, afford a trip to Disneyland every 3 years, put your kids through college, and afford to retire by age 68.  But, as usual, no one asked me. –ed)
  • Work with business and industry that need to hire and job seekers that need an extra boost.

Power Up Pierce Initiative – (info at , although they don’t mention my favorite power-ups, which are the triple-banana and the triple green shell – if those don’t bring a mischievous smile to your face, I don’t know what to say. -ed)

  • We work with everyone
  • Focus work on 2 demographics –
    • Disconnected young adults – 16-24 – homeless, not working, not in school, etc.
    • Adults without a General Education Development (GED) or High School Diploma.  This includes some 40,000 people in Pierce County.  Even though economy booming, good to be recession proof – usually people without diplomas lose jobs first.
  • Sara - Community engagement is very important.  Have a community Engagement task force – to better serve client and have wrap around services
    • Next week is the next meeting – we partner with different community services
    • Use 211 community referral system to better serve our customer
  • Young adult development internship
    • Spent about a year talking to young adults about what they want in an experience and what employment they want
    • Bruce Dammeier (Pierce County Executive), Victoria Woodards (City of Tacoma Mayor), elected involved in this work
    • 16 week program – focused on interests of the Young adults
      • Career
      • Education
      • Individualized environments with supportive services
      • Advocacy
    • Pay above minimum wage
    • 20 hours/week at site –$14/hour
    • Go before work force development councils
      • Transportation is a challenge - can provide orca passes
    • Can provide interview clothes, boots, car repair. 
    • Community employer partners - Tacoma, Parkland and Spanaway (while there is some controversy around the true origins of the name Spanaway, I think the mangling of Spanueh Lake, a Salish word for “Dug Roots”, is probably correct.  Dug roots is a reference to the plentiful camas in the area around the lake - the camas root bulb being a sweet potato like staple.  It is usually harvested when the flower is  in bloom, because then you know it is the blue flowered Camas, and not the white flowered deathcamas, which, as it turns out, looks like camas bulbs but will kill you. It even kills the bees trying to pollinate it – all except the Deathcamas bee, which likes it just fine. Interesting historical note – the Lewis and Clark expedition accidentally made some camas beer when  their camas root got wet during their canoe journey down the Clearwater river.  And there was much rejoicing.-ed)
    • Joy – you’ll reach out to Key? Jesse – yes
    • Video about eligibility (video at – cute video, but as long as I’m riffing on my time on the Commission on Disabilities, I might point out that videos need captioning and narration – something I couldn’t find on this video. Basically, all video content should be understandable audibly, and all audible content close-captioned – that makes it accessible for everyone, both those with sight and hearing impairments. Anyway, some notes from the video below –ed)
      • Jane is a Pierce County resident and job seeker
      • Jane struggles where to begin
      • WIOA – at Worksource could help
      • What is WIOA?    Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
      • Built for Long term unemployment, low income, veterans, etc.
      • Jane does not have to be so frustrated navigating services because Worksource is here to help navigate through those barriers. 
      • Services?
        • Job readiness
        • Work-based learning
        • Career workshops
        • more
      • More info    
  • James Hughes – Executive Director at Career TEAM -
    • Worksource
      • A big mall with lots of organizations that work in Worksource.  We identify as Worksource (I’m still generally confused about Worksource vs. Workforce, but I think that is a me problem, not a you problem. Heck, I can’t even tell  the difference between camas and deathcamas –ed) .
      • One thing we’ve been working on – how to rebrand messaging of services for job seekers and employers – employers and partners are a huge part of worksource.
      • Change from transactional to transformational – in the past – transaction is how we offered things – need this or that and we’ll pay for it. 
      • Trying to listen better to what our customers need.  We get return customers, and we don’t want that.
    • Marybeth – used to have orientation once a week – James –every Wednesday at 9am (at 2121 State Street, Tacoma, WA, I’m imagining. -ed)– can come in and hear about everything we have to offer in the whole center
    • Sara - In folder – shows what is going on for the week and for the month.  Not yet have the events for the month
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act - WIOA –
    • Federal government sets money aide for people to go back to work
    • Career edge online portal – help  build resumes, career ready models, career cluster assessment, personality assessment (or lack-of-personality assessment – important as well –ed)
    • On-on-one career counseling – customized labor market information, networking.  How to find the hidden job market (one must go through the Leaky Cauldron to a rear courtyard and tap a brick in the wall, found by counting three up and two across, three times .-ed).
    • We want people, even if they only work with us for a week or two, to have the skills they need
  • Individualized Services for adults
    • Life Coaches – three life coaches working with young adults and adults.
    • Connect to training
    • Internships
    • On the job training
    • Career boost – how do we boost people opportunities to employment – bringing employers, trainers and job seekers into a room.  This isn’t new, but we are keeping it going.  Employers say for every job seeker there are 10 openings – but they aren’t’ training.  Charge to get people trained and have places to work.
    • Had a fellow who went through training in June – got a job through a conversation at subway – we offer a transformational service
  • Brooklyn – Young Adult Services
    • Case manager for 16-24 year olds
    • Rewarding experience – good time for youth to find out what they are doing
    • Partners
      • Tacoma Community college
      • Goodwill YouthBuild
      • REACH
      • Job Corps
      • Eatonville community Center
      • (something else I didn’t catch. –ed)
    • Work with youth on what they want to do. 
      • Finding what we can help them with to build experience to get job
      • REACH has a GED program, and we have an online one.
      • Job Development – interview skills, resume help, job search
      • Transportation assistance
      • Interview and work clothing
      • Teach what being presentable looks like
    • Al – what type of transportation?  Brooklyn – as needed - full month of an ORCA card, for instance
  • Emily Archer – Basic Education Navigator
    • Partners
      • Tacoma Community College
      • Tacoma Community House
      • Bates Technical College
      • Clover Park
      • Pierce
    • Connect to the 5 above options
    • Adult high school completing – HS21 – over 21, take high school credit and get diploma with credits from year they should have graduated.  At TCC, Pierce and bates
    • GED – Clover Park, Tacoma Community House – once pass practice test or complete faculty requirement -  can take the test – some assistance to cover the $125 cost
    • English language instructions – so can learn English and then get their GED.
    • I-BEST integrated Basic Education and Skill Training.  CNA is popular – so ready to take the test
      • Theresa – instead of GED?  Need GED to get in?  Emily -  don’t need GED, and class work can apply to GED. Theresa – new GED is hard to test.  HS21 IS A GOOD Option for folks since there is no test at the end.  New GED test is getting harder.  Marybeth – can use life experience to work  on that.  Emily - HS21 can take up to 2 years if no HS credit. 
    • Do outreach in the community – send them to me or send referrals to me and Ill connect with the student. 
    • When meeting with student, discuss barriers and career goals (like become a railroad magnate. –ed)– want something they can succeed with (OK, maybe train engineer then. –ed)
      • Provide transportation assistance as needed.  (like a train ticket? –ed)
      • Discuss funding options – if low cost will find funding so they can be no cost
      • Refer to other community resources
      • Follow up after 2 weeks and beyond
  • Jenny Capella – workforce Central – community Services
    • How many are employers – anyone who employs is a business.  All of you can benefit from workforce services
    • Our business are a vital part of workforce.  We have different services we provide – at no cost to employers
      • Work experience – paid internships. For youth and young adults that have some barriers or displaced homemakers – DV survivor or recent divorcee – how to build skill and resume and get them into a paid internship – workforce pays 4-6 weeks of pay and such- little cost to employer
    • Need to get an employee upskilled – if has employer and employee – can subsidize wages employer paid to get an employee upskilled – for youth, young adults and adults
    • Recruitment – can post your jobs.  You fill out a form and send it to us – something that would cost employers – through the government we can post ads on indeed and craigslist and subsidize it in many cases.
    • Hiring event – we spotlight employers – one employer came in recently – had 4 people come and he hired them all
    • Send resumes to you for free
    • Rapid response – when a company lays people off, provide a safety net – also work to avert layoffs.  Do career fairs and such.
      • Questions – do you do the rapid response all the time – Jenny  - when we have the need.  Question – is there a size of company you work with?  Jenny – no minimum.
    • Question – how do you support employees during layoffs. Or employers during layoff
    • Al – what services are available to undocumented immigrants – how integrates with ICE?  James – WIOA – program all have to be legal.  Otherwise, workforce services are free to anyone else – no limits with workshops or job clubs.  We don’t give away information without a judicial order.  We offer them to whoever we can.
    • Question – I-10 number – no permit to work so can’t use WIOA – but can use services – up to employer what to do. 
  • Locations- job center at 2121 S State Street
  • Bud Hawk transition center
  • Goodwill
  • Pierce college
  • Tacoma urban league
  • (Something else –ed.)
  • Marybeth – at TCC one challenge is employers flexible with student schedules.  How about a job fair for employers able to work with student schedule.  Jenny – we can ask employers about that.  James – we don’t do that, but what a great idea. 


Goodwill -

  • Kelly Blucher, Manager of Community Engagement and Outreach -
  • Quick overview of something that needs a lot more time
  • Integrating different services into our workforce development
    • Career Readiness Course
      • 40 hour workshop – 3 hours a day for 3 weeks.  We incorporate basic math and computer skills in those 40 hours.  Learn powerpoint, basic word, email. 
      • Work fundamentals
      • Creating a resume
      • People that haven’t been employed for a long time-lots of older workers or parents – it is 40 hours in and out, but it is a success – they get a career readiness certificate – many employers are learning about what that career readiness certificate.  We ask if it will help them get into an interview?  Employers say yes.
      • Class is open to everyone and completely free
    • Financial Coaching (this seem so good for everyone. –ed)
      • Center for Strong Families (bridges to career opportunities)
      • Every job training program, do one-on-one financial reporting. 
      • Pull their credit report
      • Goal setting
      • Building a budget
      • Employment counseling
      • started a home ownership class – I want to get a home and need a plan.
      • Husband does this class – gets in depth on credit counseling
      • Tacoma Public Utilities provides support
      • 10 hour course – if you are a TPU and qualify for income based payment (< 125% of poverty or over 62) get $80 off a bill
      • 90 minutes financial coaching – another $80 off your bill. 
    • Job training
      • Culinary (we need more culinary genius in Tacoma – this program is a good thing. -ed)
      • Advance manufacturing and warehouse
        • Partnered with AJAX- aerospace
        • 12 week course – blueprints, shop math, forklift, etc.
        • We’ll create the pipeline into Boeing or Skookum or PCC airframe. 
      • Environmental training – all for free
    • 253 works job club – need everyone working on this
      • 32% hire rate – lets increase that to 50%, our goal (I think I can, I think I can. –ed)
  • Marybeth – have folks that can’t afford applications fees – do any of your programs support that.  Kelly – no
  • Question – are all program at goodwill open to just County people?  Are they open to anyone?  Kelly – open to anyone.  Also have work locations in Longview and Yakima.


Candidate Forums – if you want to work on coordinating the candidate forum – get with me.  We are doing outreach to other homeless coalitions – mainly the Puyallup and the Key Peninsula.  Puyallup doesn’t want to host a forum.  Doing outreach to Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula, so we will hold a third candidate forum through them.  We will figure out today how we want to invite all the candidates

Good of the Order

  • Youth day center open – in August will do a presentation – open 7 days a week 7am-8:30pm – provide dinner, but closed during lunch.  There is a therapist and case managers on site – Geared to 12-24 – can serve minors during the day, night shelter for 18-24.
    • Day: HYPE Center - 2342 Tacoma Ave S. Tacoma, WA 
    • Night: Beacon Center: 415 S 13th St. Tacoma, WA
  • Space available at Tacoma Community College - August 1st  - taking calls
  • Shared housing – need hosts – contact Joy -

Coming Attractions

  • September 6th – Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young will discuss the County's response to homelessness, the job growth/imbalance, and provide an update on the County plans for implementing the affordable housing funds made possible by SHB 1406.  Homes First, from Thurston County, will present their housing model, and we’ll meet a new Public Policy faculty member at Evergreen interested in housing and homelessness
  • September 13th - We'll hear a presentation about the Clubhouse model and the need for a Clubhouse model facility in Pierce County. We will also hear about Tacoma Public Utility programs that support low income households.
  • September 20th – Washington Trafficking Prevention discuss how to respond to the sexual exploitation and trafficking of youth. We are looking for one more presentation - youth focused agenda
  • September 24thHire253 – you need to wear your t-shirts.  Hosting at Goodwill again.  Want 50% employment.  Let’s put our energy into this
  • September 27th – Overview of the candidate forums – needs to more presentations, too
  • October 4th – Candidate forums
  • October 11th – Candidate forums
  • October 18th – We Care Daily Clinics
  • October 25th – Should Tacoma boycott Michigan over their construction of a dome less than 2 meters wider than the Tacoma Dome, “stealing” the title largest wooden dome in the world from our beloved Tacoma Dome, or is all fair game in love and war (and geodesic dome construction)? Join members of the Tacoma Landmarks Commission, a Leading ethicist, Ben Bernanke, and the ghost of Hugh Beaver, as we discuss the implication of trade tariffs on Michigan, and their implications in the larger world economy.   

Restaurant Review

With the build out of Point Ruston, the waterfront along Ruston Way feels busier than it’s ever been.  I’m sure that isn’t true, because it used to be lined with the sawmills that helped fuel the early Tacoma economy (and fed materials for the building booms in San Francisco and elsewhere), not the roller-bladers and a seemingly endless parade of dogs we see now.  Back in the 1890’s, it would have been a different picture. St. Paul and Tacoma Lumber built the biggest sawmill in the world, or so they said, and lumber was big business in Tacoma.  A spot by the water was needed to get the logs in and the boards out. Ruston Way was where much of that sawmilling happened, so I’m thinking the waterfront was a bit busier then – with all those logs and tall ships and workers, and the occasional sawmill fire to keep things lively.  But, in a little miracle of recovered public land, Ruston Way is now a nice, park-filled place to walk, jog and roll. There are lots of pricey restaurants on Ruston Way, but I’ve always been rather fond of a quick bite at Northern Fish OId Town (2201 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402 - ).  It is mostly a fishmonger (and has been for a long time – you can find the building on the historical train layout at the Washington History Museum in Downtown Tacoma), but also has a takeout window for fish and chips, clam chowder, crab cocktails and the like. It isn’t far from my house, and I like to make it a lunch stop on a weekend stroll. I can snag some food and eat on their deck, or find a sandy spot or grassy spot or even a picnic table (so many options) in Jack Hyde Park and enjoy one of the best places to be in Tacoma – the boats and trains and cars and water and the people – oh my gosh, the people watching.  I also usually pick up somethings fishy to cook for dinner (like rock fish or dover sole – the cheap and tasty options) – they are a fishmonger, after all.  They’ll even pack your fish on ice for you, so you don’t have to rush home. Lunch-wise, I like their halibut and chips, but their cioppino (San Francisco’s gift to the culinary world) is also quite good. Most things are made to order, and it can take a few minutes to get your food.  So sit on their deck, give your dog a good scratch behind the ears, and wait for some seafood awesomeness. 


  • Cynthia Stewart, League of Women Voters
  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters
  • CC Mendoza, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Pamm Silver, Molina Healthcare
  • Jeremy Walker, Housing Advocate
  • Brooklynn Zanto, Rescare
  • Jenny Compalla , Workforce services (I know I spelled that wrong. –ed)
  • Sara Irish, Worksource
  • Jesse Becerra, Worksource
  • Jessica Anduiza, Sorksource
  • James Hughes, Worksource
  • Caitlyn Reed, Tacoma Community College
  • Shannon, Tacoma Community College
  • Kevin Glasel, Tacoma Community College
  • Marybeth McCarthy, Tacoma Community College
  • Bryan Green, Olive Crest
  • Bill Bruno, Catholic Community Services
  • Evangeline Tweedy, Pastor of Resources
  • Charleen Fitzgerald, Coordinated Care
  • Andrea Sanz, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • William Stinson, Catholic Community Services
  • Matthew Jorgensen, City of Tacoma
  • Theresa Power-Drutis, New Connections
  • Sierra Hinrichsen, Skookum Contract Services
  • Marc Mueller, The Coffee Oasis
  • Katie Butler, The Coffee Oasis
  • Julie Easley, The Coffee Oasis
  • Carey Davies, The Coffee Oasis
  • Sid Sandstrom, The Coffee Oasis
  • Mitch Austin, Valeo Vocation
  • Andrea Austin, Valeo Vocation
  • Rosemary Powers, New Connections
  • Larry Parsons, Helping Hands 4 Veterans
  • Patty Schneider, Catholic Community Services
  • Sherri Jensen, Valeo Vocation
  • RoxAnne Simon, Safe Streets
  • Dave Morrell, Pierce County Counsel
  • Al Ratcliffe, Me
  • Sandra Sych, Pierce County AIDS Foundation
  • Joy Stanford, Shared Housing Services
  • Chris McManus, Comprehensive Life REsources
  • Benjamin Feldbush, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Helen Hernandez, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Christian Da, Comprehensive Life resources
  • Heidi Nagel, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Stephanie Glover, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Angeline
  • Don Pitchford, House of prayer


Valeo Vocation -

  • Sherri Jensen – this is exciting -
  • Skookum was exciting to me. 
  • As the only employer focused on homelessness – we often get referrals
  • At Valeo – 2 eligibility criteria
    • Able to and seeking full time employment – focused on ending homelessness
    • Must be low-income or experiencing homelessness
  • Nonprofit staffing agency –
    • In last year, have been successful.  Brought 250 in seeking services, placed 120 out onto assignment.  One quarter have secured permanent employment
    • Average starting wage into permanent employment $16.35/hour.  Mitch – some are higher – that is smashing ( –ed)
    • Use revenue generated to help folks move into housing  - 13 families have ended their homelessness.
  • About $500k in generated income – over $200k going to people experiencing homelessness.  For profit companies are supporting our work
  • Mitch is making this all happen
  • Mitch – a 24 year old young man living at the Beacon Youth Shelter – showed up every day, got him a job working in renovation and recover and moved into full time construction and is full time.  He just got his own apartment and we put together his donated queen sized bed – he was playing matchbox cars with his kid on the new bed in his apartment. (OK, where do I send a donation in – I love these sorts of stories. –ed)
  • Had frustrating employee – not able make it to appointments, not going to assignments – I was getting frustrated.  Turns out, a Traumatic Brain Injury prevents him from being able to read or write.  All the times he couldn’t make it to my office...  Taking the time to know an individual, it is not one size fits all.  A few weeks later, understanding his needs, he is showing up and is getting a special position created where he doesn’t need to read or write.  Those little things – intangibles  - where we can make it work.  I have the best job ever – I get to do this every day. 
  • If you have opportunities for internships or for folks to gain employment let us know – this is how we do it differently.
  • We started because of this community effort right here.  We are so grateful to be a part of this Coalition.  Love you all (it’s mutual. –ed)
  • Joy – how’d you assist with housing?  Sherri – we do what is needed, on a case by case basis. We may cover deposit and first month, maybe cover other fees.  Need to build people up to market rate rent.