Workforce

Kitsap’s workforce ranges from former navy personnel eager to stay in the area, ex-Seattle/Redmond IT professionals looking for more livable surroundings, or graduates of our local colleges and technology training centers ready to use their talents in manufacturing or skilled labor.

Kitsap County offers employers and employees a number of work and lifestyle advantages that helps attract – and keep – a top-notch workforce. At the top of the list: short, nearly congestion-free commute times; affordable cost of living; family-friendly communities; offices and homes that overlook stunning Pacific Northwest scenery; and numerous cultural and recreational opportunities.

What makes Kitsap work:

  • A skilled labor pool generated by the Department of Defense enlisted and civilian employees and  government contractors
  • Highest concentration per capita of architects and engineers in Washington*
  • Intellectual Property – ranks second in Puget Sound in patent awards
  • Over 500 miles of high-speed fiber (via Kitsap Public Utility District) to support virtual commuting and e-commerce 
  • Access to customized training and acclaimed workforce development programs
  • Advanced manufacturing, IT, business, healthcare, and industrial trades programs
  • Resident baccalaureate degrees in business, engineering, nursing, cybersecurity, environmental policy,  and MBA programs in sustainability

Two new factors influencing Kitsap’s workforce are the rise of  remote workers and “fast ferry” service. The pandemic of 2020 delivered a crash course in remote work and many have found that being tied to a downtown office is unnecessary for productive work. Former commuters are choosing a different lifestyle and finding it in Kitsap. State-of-the-art coworking spaces, connected to NoaNet the nation’s largest public fiber-optic backbone make remote work a reality – opening up a world of new possibilities for new partnerships, opportunities and enterprise.

For those still commuting the new fast ferry routes make connections to Seattle a breeze. The ease of transportation has brought an influx of former Seattleites drawn to Kitsap’s more affordable housing market, quality schools and family-friendly communities.  

Military Impact

About 55USS Roosevelt percent of all economic activity of Kitsap County is directly or indirectly linked to the personnel and procurements at Naval Base Kitsap which employs over 31,000 military and civilian personnel, in addition to defense contractor operations. This sector creates an experienced labor pool of skilled and semi-skilled workers from retired/separated shipyard workers, military members and contractors.

Total impacts of the major bases in Kitsap include employment of 35,642 including 11,220 military personnel, 19,922 civilian personnel and 7,500 defense contractors and an additional 15,000 retirees on the payroll, and labor earnings of $2.1 billion.

Many of the 3,000 young men and women discharged each year choose to stay in the area and are eager to enter the civilian workforce.  They are highly skilled with the knowledge, training and work ethic employers desire and the added security clearances some employers require.  Many retiring Navy personnel have already purchased homes in the area and have become active members of the community.

Commuters

Our large commute-out work force — estimated at 30% of the employed labor force — can readily be tapped by growing businesses.  Many commuters to the East side welcome opportunities closer to home. About 10% of employed labor commutes into Kitsap, primarily from Pierce, Mason and Jefferson Counties. In addition, retiring military offer a wide range of skill sets to employers in our area.

See Kitsap Economic Profile

**https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes170000.htm

Workforce

Total Businesses

7,942

Total Employed

76,805

Workers 16+

127,515

2021 HealthCare/Social Assist

cp-industries

Businesses

831

Employed

15,271

2021 Retail Trade Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

1,145

Employed

12,447

2021 Accommodation/Food Service

cp-industries

Businesses

583

Employed

7,534

2021 Food Service/Drinking Estab

cp-industries

Businesses

536

Employed

6,848

2021 Educational Services - Businesses

cp-industries

Businesses

236

Employed

6,781

2021 Public Administration

cp-industries

Businesses

194

Employed

5,269

Some
High School

6,584

Graduated
High School

36,182

Associates
Degree

21,016

Bachelor's
Degree

44,083

Graduate
Degree

24,494

Average Commute Time

31 min.



Resident Commuters

103,843

Non-Resident Commuters

22,594

Drive Alone

88,104

Carpooled

9,189

Public

11,808

Work At Home

8,073

Kitsap is a recognized leader in several key regional economic sectors: maritime; military; manufacturing; health care; business services; technology; and, tourism. And, Kitsap is home to the most-dense concentration of engineering talent in the Seattle region.

Skilled Labor: A vast, skilled labor pool generated by the Navy, government contractors and commuters. Naval base Kitsap employs over 31,000 military and civilian personnel, in addition to defense contractor operations.  About 55 percent of all economic activity of Kitsap County is directly or indirectly linked to department of Defense personnel and procurements.

In addition, retiring military offer a wide range of skill sets to employers in our area.

Available Workforce: Our large commute-out work force — estimated at 30% of the employed labor force — can readily be tapped by growing businesses.  Many commuters to the East side welcome opportunities closer to home. About 10% of employed labor commutes into Kitsap, primarily from Pierce, Mason and Jefferson Counties.

Workforce Training: Olympic College (OC) with campuses in Bremerton and Poulsbo, offers numerous high demand programs including aerospace and advanced manufacturing, IT, business, healthcare, and industrial trades. Additionally, OC offers baccalaureate degrees in nursing, engineering (with Washington State University), and business (with Western Washington University) Learn more about workforce training

Government Contracting: Procurement Technical Assistance Center: KEDA’s Washington Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is part of the Washington State PTAC. We provide FREE and confidential business assistanceand support to regional businesses in marketing and selling to federal, state and local government agencies and prime contractors. We also assist agencies, departments and primes in their efforts to comply with federal and state procurement diversity goals. Our service area covers 5 counties: Kitsap, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Mason.

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