Olympia Career Hub

Olympia Career Hub

Collaboration with City & Chamber

The Olympia Career Hub was a workforce development project that was funded by the City of Olympia and sponsored by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce to connect businesses with talented career builders. From July 2022 to June 2024 the Olympia Career Hub provided career training and exploration opportunities to Olympia residence and businesses.

This project was created using funding for Covid-19 economic relief. Thanks to additional funding support and partnerships through WorkSource, PacMtn Workforce Development Council, and Equus Workforce Solutions the Thurston Chamber was able to extend the project and offer twice as many construction training cohorts as originally budgeted. Moving forward, the Thurston Chamber will use the success of this temporary project as an example of using short-term vocational training programs to create a talent pipeline for workforce development.

Cohort & ANEW

The Olympia Career Hub began its short-term construction training cohorts in January 2023, through a partnership with ANEW. These free training cohorts were created to help people with limited experience in construction take the first steps to a long and self-sustaining career pathway in the trades.

ANEW is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1980 to provide pre-apprenticeship training programs to the Puget Sound region. ANEW’s instructors taught 9 construction training cohorts for the Olympia Career Hub, helping 85 students gain essential construction skills and graduate from the program. Those students earned over 250 industry recognized certifications in Flagging, Forklift Operation, and OSHA-10 Safety. Initially, the Olympia Career Hub offered ANEW’s seven-week PACE training cohort program. The Olympia Career Hub transitioned to ANEW’s four-week Construction Boot Camp program, to make this training opportunity accessible to more people.

In addition to hands on construction training, ANEW built connections with each student. They practiced soft skills, interview skills, goal setting, and professionalism so that each student would put their best foot forward. In every aspect of their training, ANEW emphasizes Persistence, Punctuality, Positive Attitude, and Work Ethic.

ANEW instructor Kyla explains, “My main duties are out in the shop, but I also help students establish important habits such as being on time and early, making sure that they are wearing all of their PPE, resume building, and help them get prepared for an interview with an employer. By teaching these things, I am helping these students become a candidate to be successful at whatever career they may choose to go into.”

Each construction training cohort culminated in a hiring event with local businesses. Graduates met with recruiters actively hiring for the skills ANEW graduates have obtained. In addition to these hiring events, Thurston Chamber staff continuously followed up with students over the phone and by email to help each student find the right job opportunity for them.

Meet A Grad


When Iden discovered the Olympia Career Hub and its ANEW led construction training program he was in the process of being deferred from legal charges. Since then, he graduated from Construction Boot Camp and found a job. He agreed to participate in a spotlight interview to help get the word out about the program and its usefulness.

“[It was an] avenue to help myself out of that hole... without that balloon, I would have been anchored.” Iden explained that he benefited from the physical training and practice. It helped him understand the effort and skill necessary for the tasks. “Think of PE in middle school but all day.” He said there was never a dull moment but stresses that it is a boot camp. It was challenging and went by quickly.

Throughout the interview, Iden expressed his excitement for the program and the value it added to the community. He said, “The one thing others should know as they consider this program is that we work as a team to support our society. We each put together its structure and we each become part of its greater whole.” He emphasized the importance of persevering and that jobs and opportunities are worth waiting for.

Career Map Meetups

Career Map Meetups

In addition to hands-on construction training, the Olympia Career Hub helped 521 students and community members explore numerous career pathways through an event called the Career Map Meetup. Each month during the school year, the Thurston Chamber collaborated with local high schools and South Puget Sound Community College to host career focused panel discussions.

Local professionals were invited to talk about their own career journey and share how they got to where they are today. The Olympia Career Hub aimed to demystify career pathways by encouraging students to interact with and learn from real-life professionals in a field they are interested in pursuing.

Professional Development Training Workshops Strengths Finder & Unlocking the Hidden Talent Pipeline

One of the Olympia Career Hub’s goals was to help people progress in the career pathways they had already chosen. The Olympia Career Hub offered professional development workshops to help businesses develop leaders within their current workforce and learn about tools, resources, and best practices to recruit new talent from often overlooked sources.

Narcan Training

The Olympia Career Hub held workshops to help businesses create and develop the skills necessary to maintain a safe working environment. 3 Narcan trainings were held in downtown Olympia to help community members learn the signs of an overdose and administer lifesaving Narcan.

Data Dashboard 2022-2024:

  • Construction Cohort Graduates: 85
  • Career Map Meetup Attendees: 521
  • Professional Development Training Attendees: 156
  • Businesses Engagements: 187

Photo Gallery

All photo credits | Shanna Paxton Photography

Olympia Career Hub logo

Give Us A Follow!

For Questions

If you have questions, email Micah Pong, Project Manager, at mpong@thurstonchamber.com or call the Thurston Chamber (360) 357-3362.