WorkForce Development

What is Workforce Development?

Workforce development involves initiatives that educate and train people to create, sustain and retain a viable workforce that meets the needs of current and future business (e.g., services) needs.


The Department of Social and Health Services Behavioral Health Administration’s Office of Forensic Mental Health Services implements and oversees a statewide, systematic and comprehensive forensic mental health services workforce development program, to include competency evaluation, competency restoration, forensic risk assessment and Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity (NGRI) treatment. DSHS also provides training to jail staff, the courts, attorneys, and other involved stakeholders.

The Trueblood Settlement Agreement

The Trueblood Settlement Agreement and subsequent legislative funding has facilitated specific enhancements to the DSHS Office of Forensic Mental Health Services Workforce Development Program. The agency is employing workforce development specialists who focus on activities in the following areas:

  • Community, including crisis response, homeless, in-home, residential, and clinic based services
  • Inpatient, including residential treatment facilities, private hospitals, and state hospitals
  • Law enforcement and corrections, including jails and prisons

Activities include:

  • Participating in workforce development workgroups with stakeholders such as state hospitals, community healthcare organizations, law enforcement, and jails
  • Conducting training needs surveys/gaps analysis
  • Assisting in the development of a master training plan(s)
  • Developing and coordinating training including standardized training manuals and guidelines
  • Collaborating with other community-based, organizational workforce development staff
  • Conducting training program(s) evaluations

DSHS is also assessing the need and target areas for training programs, certification programs and possible degree programs.

Reports to the Washington Legislature regarding status of these workforce development activities will be completed and available in 2020.

This workforce development program does not provide staffing or staffing contracts.

For more information, contact:
James Vess, Ph.D.
Workforce Development Administrator / Office of Forensic Mental Health Services
Behavioral Health Administration / Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
4500 10th Ave. SE, Lacey, WA 98503
(O) 360-972-0398 /