Businesses, especially small ones, face many dilemmas in the modern working landscape. With everyone hiring, small businesses must often fight against corporate titans for talent, and it takes more than a good nose for stellar resume writing to find the right people to staff your organization.

More challenging still: it’s no easier to keep them.

But by using the resources available to you, there are ways to stack the deck in your favor.

WorkSource is funded by federal and state grants to help people find work. But we also help businesses find workers. When used correctly, WorkSource can level the playing field between you and your competition, giving you the support you need to face down a challenging and ever-changing job market.

What does WorkSource do for businesses? For starters, we offer additional support services to eligible job seekers. These support services can help eliminate barriers to entry that can prevent some individuals from finding and keeping a job. If your employee is enrolled in On-the-Job Training, they also have the benefit of having access to support services and a collaborative training plan.

Having WorkSource in your corner can pay in dividends. And the best way to take full advantage of these resources is to make WorkSource part of your onboarding.

But what does that look like?

The most common process for most of the businesses we work with is to talk about our services at the time of job offer. When you have found a good match for your organization, you can offer them a flyer or communicate directly with them about WorkSource benefits. Here, we have one example of the flyers we give to businesses to pass on to prospective hires.

But how do you know if they qualify?

The truth is: you don’t. How people qualify for WorkSource services is often personal and complex, which is why we recommend letting us figure out the eligibility question. The best way to work with WorkSource is to explain the benefits of contacting us to all employees at the time of offer.

Karin LaValla, a member of the Business Support Team at WorkSource, had this to say:

Through this practice, we have been able to identify customers that are eligible for support services such as transportation assistance, professional or appropriate work clothing and/or tools necessary for the job. In doing so, we have removed or significantly reduced the financial burden that might otherwise be in place and potentially prevent the individual from participating or accepting the position. This model also allows us to continue to build our partnerships with local business and ensure that we are assisting them in supporting the hiring of new qualified talent.

The aforementioned OJT is one of the more lucrative ways we help local businesses support their new hires. With On-the-Job Training, your employee earns while they learn. Every job requires a certain amount of training, and this is one way to make sure your employees get what they need to thrive. Workers see training as an investment, as well as a testament to their worth. In LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees agreed that they’d stay longer with a company that supported them with training. While it may seem like an obvious aspect of any job, formal training can often be left on the backburner in busy workplaces. WorkSource’s OJT program can help get your new team members the training they need, and at the end of the participation timeline, WorkSource will reimburse 50% of the employee’s wages.

Support services are an umbrella term for several services WorkSource can provide to eligible job seekers. And like OJTs, they support employee retention. Director of Business Services at Workforce Southwest Washington, Darcy Hoffman says, “…We hear a lot from employers about how a new hire was not able to keep a job because of life events like a car breaking down. WorkSource support services can help with that.”

A car breaking down, no gas, no clothes, no tools, no work boots—all of these problems may be solved with WorkSource support services. By providing people with what they need to work, we also keep them working.

One of the biggest issues for the long-term unemployed is childcare, which is another barrier to employment with which WorkSource can assist. Childcare can be incredibly cost prohibitive, but for those that need to work, it can also represent a reason they can’t work. WorkSource can screen these new customers for eligibility, identify their needs, and provide support services to keep these barriers from interfering with their employment.

The key to employee retention lies with your onboarding process. A strong initial experience leads to 69% of employees staying three years or longer according to a survey from CareerBuilder and Silkroad Technology. Considering the expenses associated with hiring and training new employees (not to mention the time cost), it makes sense for employers to supercharge their onboarding process by referring new employees to WorkSource.

If you’re looking to learn more about how WorkSource can work with your business, or want to learn more about the services we offer your new hires, reach out to Mei-Ling Taylor at or 360-735-5013.

WorkSource is a network of nonprofits, community-based organizations, local and state agencies working in partnership to provide an array of employment and training services to job seekers and businesses in Washington State. WorkSource is funded through the local workforce development board, Workforce Southwest Washington. For information, visit

Carson Winter is the Communications & Outreach Coordinator at WorkSource. Reach him at or 360-735-4962.

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