TACOMA – After 28 years at WorkForce Central, CEO Linda Nguyen announced today that she will retire at the end of the year. Nguyen has served at the helm of WorkForce Central since 2007, and started her career here directly after graduating from college.
“I am blessed that I get to retire earlier than normal and I feel so honored to have had the opportunity over the last 28 years to be a part of such a great organization with such a wonderful staff, Executive Board, Workforce Development Council and community partners,” Nguyen said.
“Together, we have built a great foundation to get all of our residents the skills they’ll need to fill the current and future jobs that our Pierce County employers create.”
Under Nguyen’s leadership, WorkForce Central has developed a regional workforce strategic plan, and has launched its Power Up Pierce initiative to cut in half by 2025 the number of Pierce County adults without a high school diploma or GED and the number of young adults who aren’t in school or working.
During her tenure, WorkForce Central has implemented and emphasized the use of data analysis, and has put in place tools to help all residents more easily connect to available jobs in Pierce County. The goal: to ensure that people gain skills to fill available family wage jobs and ensure that local businesses are able to find qualified talent to be globally competitive.
“We are grateful for Linda’s 28 years of commitment to WorkForce Central and her leadership of 12 years as CEO,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, who serves as co-chair of the WorkForce Central Executive Board.
“Thanks to Linda’s time as head of WorkForce Central, we are well-positioned to move forward with a strategic plan and our bold goals for Pierce County. The work of this organization is better because of her leadership,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, who is also co-chair of the Executive Board.
“I just want to thank Linda for 28 years of leadership and vision for WorkForce Central, and wish her all the best in her retirement,” said Stephen Gear, vice chair of the Pierce County Workforce Development Council and vice president of energy products/technology development for Bradken.
Nguyen grew up in Tacoma. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound, she began her nearly three decades at WorkForce Central as a youth case manager. She chairs the Washington Workforce Association and is a board member on the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board, United Way of Pierce County, the Washington Economic Development Association, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council. She has a 20-year-old son who serves in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear operator.
“I look forward to seeing WorkForce Central and its partners achieve our many goals in the future,” Nguyen said. “I’ll be cheering on the continued success of this work, which will ensure that Pierce County becomes a community where everyone can thrive.”
WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.