Spokane region selected to forward economic and workforce development initiative

Check out the Spokesman article about this initiative.

(SPOKANE, Wash.) – Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI) announced today that Spokane, Washington has been selected as one of five communities across the United States to join the Inclusive Development Network, an ambitious new initiative designed to advance inclusive workforce development within communities through a focus on reaching underserved populations. Cleveland, Ohio; Corpus Christi, Texas; Coweta, Oklahoma; Spokane, Washington; and Pensacola, Florida, were selected from more than 35 applications for the Network’s first cohort of communities.

“We are thrilled that Spokane was selected for this important work. Talent development is a key component to developing a healthy and thriving economy,” said Alisha Benson, Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer, Greater Spokane Inc. “Partnering with the community, GSI works to advocate for the region, drive strategic economic growth, and champion a talented workforce to ensure businesses have the skilled workforce they need to thrive, while providing needed career opportunities for individuals in our region. This in turn, contributes to a thriving and healthy economy.”

An initiative of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), the Inclusive Development Network will work to identify and implement strategies that reduce equity gaps in local workforce development. Participating communities were selected based on their geography and size, as well as their existing and proposed reach with underserved populations.

GSI will convene a leadership team that includes representatives from our regional partners, including: Providence Health Care, Pearson Packaging, Spokane County, City of Spokane, University District, Spokane Workforce Council, Community Colleges of Spokane, Eastern Washington University, Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane, WGU Washington, Innovia Foundation, and Community Minded Enterprises.

Through a specialized planning process facilitated by CAEL, the leadership teams from the selected communities will hone inclusive workforce development strategies to create education, job and career opportunities for all residents.

“Although our economy is growing, segments of our communities are still struggling with poverty, wage stagnation and underemployment. In local economic development, a focus on working adults and inclusivity can help ensure that every member of the community has the opportunity to thrive,” said CAEL President Marie A. Cini. “Each of the communities selected for the Network will help build and scale an inclusive new approach to workforce development.”

Backed by grants from ECMC Foundation and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Inclusive Development Network will be supported by partnerships with national experts, including International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Burning Glass Technologies, Avalanche Consulting Inc. and Quest Site Solutions.

“This work is about promoting economic inclusion for working adults at the local level,” said ECMC Foundation President Peter J. Taylor. “Together, these leaders will blaze a new trail to a more equitable and prosperous future for working adults, families and communities.”

To learn more about the IDN, visit




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