Workforce CEO Sessions Honored

South celebrates Marlena Sessions with first annual Workforce Champion Award

December 6, 2013
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South Seattle Community College President Gary Oertli presented Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County CEO Marlena Sessions with the Workforce Champion Award in December.




Since becoming Chief Executive Officer for the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County in 2009, Marlena Sessions has worked closely with South Seattle Community College in supporting students as they work towards the skills required to be successful in their careers. 

One such student, 26-year-old Thien-an Le, is currently working through her prerequisites to become a Registered Nurse through South.  The program and support she and her colleagues receive is due in large part to help from Sessions and the Workforce Development Council.

“I feel that the education I am receiving from South will help me prepare for a successful career,” Le said.  “A lot of the staff at South seem to genuinely care about our success.  They engage us, encourage us to learn, and reach out to you when they think something is wrong.” 

Sessions’ passion for improving our economy and helping our workers become self-sufficient has positively impacted many lives like Le’s, and South Seattle Community College President Gary Oertli honored her with the school’s first annual Workforce Champion Award in December.

Over the years Sessions and South have worked closely on a number of initiatives, including cohort training in nursing, energy management, commercial building auditing, welding composites and more.  She has also partnered with South in bringing customized training to the health care field through the Health Care for All project and developing navigation services for the Air Washington Initiative.

“Under Marlena’s leadership, the Workforce Development Council invested more than $300,000 in workforce cohorts in 2012 alone in addition to over $100,000 in Individual Training Accounts and direct tuition to students at South Seattle Community College, impacting over 150 students” South Dean of Workforce Development and New Initiatives Wendy Price said.

During her time as CEO of WDC, Sessions has brought the council’s work to national prominence with innovation in job training initiatives.  In 2010 the Working for America Institute named WDC one of the top four workforce boards in the U.S.

“We dedicate this first Workforce Champion Award to Marlena for her commitment to the workforce of this region, to creating opportunities for the job seekers across our city and country, and for her belief in the critical role education plays in the career path for so many,” Price said.

“I am honored to receive the first Workforce Champion Award from South Seattle Community College,” Sessions said.  “The educational initiatives developed with South to better prepare our workers for successful careers pairs perfectly with mission of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County.”

To learn more about the programs and courses offered at South, including Nursing, please visit http://www.southseattle.edu/programs-and-courses/.