Washington's Strategies for Success

Washington Pinnacle Award for Business Development Nomination: Strategies for Success

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: Janelle Guthrie

Email Address: Linda.Manis@gdol.ga.gov

Agency Name: Washington Employment Security Department


Washington's Strategies for Success

In 2015, DSHS awarded ESD a contract to deliver Strategies for Success (SFS) to Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET) participants as part of the Resource to Initiate Successful Employment (RISE) pilot in King, Pierce, Yakima and Spokane Counties. The innovative set of services is a powerful, interactive, six-module life and soft skills program designed to help individuals succeed personally and professionally. SFS focuses on an individual's development, understanding of their behaviors and attitudes, relationships with others and work environment and personal life.

Each of the six modules consists of 20 hours of instruction and self-study. Individuals may attend modules most relevant to their needs or complete all six modules, resulting in a certificate of completion for the course. While priority attendance is granted to WorkFirst participants (individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – TANF), all WorkSource customers are welcome to attend on a space available basis.


A team of ESD employees convened to develop a comprehensive curriculum to support the following core concepts, delivered through six, 20-hour modules:

  • Work Concepts (Part 1): Objective: Preparing for work, a career, and life
  • Health & Well Being: Objective: Work, life, personal wellness, and balance
  • Communication: Objective: Knowing your audiences and communication styles
  • Personal Strength Builders: Objective: What you do best, personal development
  • Community Engagement: Objective: Build awareness, personal involvement and civic responsibility
  • Work Concepts (Part 2): Objective: Preparing for work, a career, and life Due to positive feedback from individuals participating in the RISE 6 module/6 week SFS program, DSHS approached ESD about offering SFS to TANF/WorkFirst participants as well. The curriculum was enhanced and in January 2017, SFS was rolled out in 15 WorkSource offices around the state and by year end, was expanded to 31 locations statewide



Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.

SFS has gained recognition as a premiere program of the WorkSource system. From entry level workers to professionals dealing with a life changing job loss, SFS offers the opportunity for individuals to reflect, learn and grow, making them more competitive for job opportunities and eventually, better employees. In 2017, at least one module was completed by 1,286 individuals. Word about the value of this course quickly spread and in 2018, interest soared with 2,211 participants registering and completing at least one module. Of this total, 762 people successfully completed the entire series of modules, earning a Certificate of Completion for inclusion in their job search portfolios.

Customer satisfaction with SFS ranks among the highest of all classes offered in the WorkSource system. At the conclusion of each module, participants have the opportunity to complete a survey regarding their experience. When asked if they would recommend this class to others, 99.1% of participants said "yes", demonstrating overwhelming satisfaction with the quality of the program.


Other significant contributions 

Innovative Service Delivery: The Strategies for Success program is a dynamic and continuously improved and updated life and soft skills program with a customer-first orientation. Human-centered design and lean techniques, such as "Rose, Thorn, Bud," "Affinity Cluster," etc. have been used to drive curriculum updates and improvements as well as ensure that processes leveraged for programmatic and curriculum changes are lean, clear, and justified (using lean methods such as SIPOC). Additional program updates and curriculum improvements are made in response to customer-driven feedback; participant feedback based on weekly survey results is focused on the instructor, the curriculum and the overall program, allowing evaluation of customer satisfaction at both local, regional, and state levels on a weekly basis and opportunities for immediate improvements for customer needs. Instructors and supervisors involved in the program have conducted SWOT analyses of the program and the SFS program utilizes a Process Improvement team and a Curriculum Update team to continuously evaluate the program and strive to make lean adaptations to meet all stakeholder needs.


Examples of work