Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the nation, with 40 percent of jobs related to international trade. The Puget Sound area sets the pace for much of the United States and even the world. With companies like Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and PACCAR, this area has shown the world how to innovate and take charge in the global economy. The Port of Tacoma is considered one of the region’s economic engines, generating $3 billion and supporting more than 29,000 jobs in the area. Investments made in improving the port’s facilities, together with its expanding role in the era of economic globalization, have allowed it to handle growing volumes of shipments.
The median age in both counties is about 30 years old, meaning the workforce skews younger. Median household income in Pierce County is $59,953, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Although the state has no income tax, it relies heavily on its state sales tax of 6.5 percent, one of the nation’s highest, and the county sales tax of 1.4 percent.
Rail, Transit and Port Access
Few places are as strongly positioned for robust business growth and innovation as Pierce County, with its relatively easy access from waterways, major interstates and a massive commercial airport nearby.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) is the primary airport serving the region; it offers commercial passenger and cargo service worldwide and is approximately 35 miles north of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and 25 miles north of Tacoma.
Interstate 5 runs north/south from the Canadian border to Mexico. It traverses Pierce County, providing direct trucking links throughout the West Coast. Nearby Seattle is the western terminus of Interstate 90, the major east/west freeway for the northern U.S. that connects to Boston. The Washington State Ferry System is an extension of the state highway system and is the largest of its kind in the world. On a daily basis, it transports thousands of workers from residential communities across the water.
The region has multiple deep-water port facilities offering service to destinations worldwide. The ports of Seattle and Tacoma have numerous scheduled liner services. The Port of Tacoma is the sixth-busiest container port in North America, and one of the 25 busiest in the world, and it plays an important part in the local economy. This deep-water port covers 2,400 acres and offers a combination of facilities and services including 34 deepwater berths, 2 million square feet of warehouse and office space, and 131 acres of industrial yard. One economic impact study showed that more than 29,000 jobs in Pierce County are related to the port activities.
Pierce County agriculture has been an instrumental part of the local economy for almost
150 years. However, in the past 50 years, much of the county’s farmland has been transformed into residential areas, creating affordable housing for those working in Seattle. Pierce County has taken aggressive steps to reverse this trend; the county created the Pierce County Farm Advisory Commission. This advisory board helps local farmers with the interpretation of land use regulations as well as the promotion of local produce. The creation of the Pierce County Farm Advisory Commission is the catalyst behind the effort to save the remaining 48,000 acres of Pierce County farmland. Despite the loss of farmland, Pierce County continues to produce about 50 percent of the nation’s rhubarb. The Pierce Conservation District also works with local landowners and public agencies to conserve natural resources, improve water quality and promote sustainable agriculture.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the largest employer in the county, with approximately 57,000 full-time employees in 2016, according to the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County. The base is the second-largest employer in the state of Washington. The base has a total economic impact of more than $6 billion, representing 1.8 percent of Washington’s gross domestic product, according to 2010 economic data in the JBLM Joint Land Use study.
At the national level websites such as www.linkedin.com, www.monster.com, www.careerbuilder.com and www.indeed.cohave extensive search capabilities as well as resume tips, forum support and professional networking options.
The National Military Spouse Network, a networking, mentoring and professional development organization, has a wealth of career information on its website, www.nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org. The group aims to help military spouses build a meaningful, sustained career path and offers a library of articles that touch on topics like entrepreneurship, resume tips, self-promotion and more as well as a membership-only discussion forum. The organization also features companies that are military spouse-owned or military spouse-friendly on its Homefront Business Listings page.
1305 Tacoma Ave. S, Suite 201
Tacoma, WA 98402 253-593-7300
WorkSource Washington is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that deliver a wide array of employment and training services for job seekers and employers. Customers access services electronically through https://seeker.worksourcewa.com or a network of more than 60 WorkSource centers, affiliates and connection sites statewide.
Washington State Employment Security Department
212 Maple Park Ave. SE
Olympia, WA 98501 360-902-9500
The Washington State Employment Security Department is the state’s largest and most comprehensive employment resource.
Services include job listings, occupational information, job training programs and a host of specialized assistance for veterans, displaced workers and other targeted populations.
For young people seeking employment in the region, the Youth at Work website provides job search information, as well as tips on resume writing and other resources.
State of Washington
Employment opportunities with Washington State are posted online. Search by category, department or location then apply online. Find employment assistance, look for internships or sign up for the Federal Job Corps Program here as well.
615 S. 9th St., Suite 200
Tacoma, WA 98405 253-798-7480
Pierce County is among the top 10 employers in the county. Jobs are posted online with benefits information, and applications are available for download with submission instructions. Sign up to receive email notifications for new opportunities.
City of Lakewood
6000 Main St. SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
Connect with job opportunities and the city’s online application process. You can also fill out the job interest card to get notified of new opportunities in your desired field.
City of Puyallup
333 S. Meridian
Puyallup, WA 98371
From the main menu on city’s website, click “I Want To …” then “Apply for City Jobs” to view job openings and apply for employment online.
City of Tacoma
747 Market St., Room 1336
Tacoma, WA 98402
From the main menu on city’s website, click “Government” then “City Departments and Offices” to find the Human Resources page for city of Tacoma jobs. View current job listings and apply for employment online. Call the recorded job line at 253-591-5795 for job information.
City of University Place
3715 Bridgeport Way West
University Place, WA 98466
From the main menu on city’s website, click “Government” then “Job Opportunities” to access city job openings and the city’s application, which can be submitted electronically or by mail.
An employment agency can offer posts ranging from high-level administration to warehouse work. Many employers use agencies as their human resources department. Agencies advertise, interview, test and manage payroll. A temp-to-perm arrangement allows the employer and prospective employee to evaluate each other before committing to permanent employment.
Municipal and regional chambers of commerce include local employment agencies in their member lists, along with contact information. See Page 19 for a list of chambers of commerce in Pierce County.
Always keep your resume up-to-date and have several versions that target specific industries and highlight your skills that fit their job descriptions.
Compile several reference lists with a good variety of people and former business associates. Be sure to first ask each if you can use them as references.
Compose a comprehensive, catchy and succinct cover letter of no more than a page (this is no place to ramble). It will introduce you and your desire to work for the company. Have a knowledgeable friend check it for errors; misspelled words and bad grammar hint at carelessness and indifference. Know what the company does, and highlight skills, work experience and education that apply to the position. Be aware that many employers now accept only online applications so get comfortable with computers.
Maintain a positive, professional and broad-based presence on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn; almost all employers search social media sites to vet job candidates, and your absence there will raise red flags. Also be aware that images and comments posted spur-of-the-moment can be searched out forever and come back to haunt you.
Be prepared for an interview at any time. When you submit your application, a supervisor may want to talk immediately, or the phone may ring with a call from a hiring director. Compose — and rehearse — your one-minute self-promotional speech on who you are, an achievement or two and your strengths. It’s not vanity to make a good first impression. If a supervisor wants to know why she should hire you, be ready.
Always follow up with thank-you letters and calls. Even today, a letter, as well as the quick-response email, will separate you from a surprising number of the other applicants — to your advantage — and keep your name fresh in the interviewer’s mind. Judicious calls display your continued interest. Writing out beforehand what you want to say helps. So does rehearsal.
Be aware that due to the usually huge numbers of applicants, most companies are able to follow up only with candidates in whom they are interested. Don’t take it personally if you’re not notified that you didn’t get the job.
JBLM Civilian Opportunities
Visit www.usajobs.gov to search for Department of Defense jobs at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
For information about service jobs, including openings in lodging, marina, recreation areas and more, (non-appropriated fund positions) visit Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Human Resource’s website at www.jblmmwr.com/jobs_hr.html.
For Base Exchange jobs, visit the AAFES career page at http://odin.aafes.com/employment and search for Fort Lewis/McChord AFB.
Washington State Small Business Development Center
The Washington State Small Business Development Center offers small business resources for those looking to start a business. Visit http://wsbdc.org for more information.
BusinessUSA is a one-stop platform for small businesses to get the services they need to make good hires and to grow. The service now offers personalized information and links on how to start a business, obtain financing, look into exporting, expand, find opportunities, learn about health care changes, be aware of taxes and credits, get help with hires, and ferret out regulations and green opportunities. BusinessUSA is especially interested in increasing ownership among veterans, women, the socially and economically disadvantaged, Native Americans and Alaska Natives.