Department of Enterprise Services and King County Partner to Bring GIS Training to Washington State and Beyond

By Marcia Moody and Greg Babinski

Bringing GIS training to agencies across Washington State
On January 8, 2007, eight State of Washington employees made their way from Olympia to the King County GIS Center Training Facility in downtown Seattle. At 8:00am, a King County GIS training instructor, Mary Ullrich, welcomed the eight, as well as eight other students from various King County agencies, a local fire district, and a private company. This launched a partnership between King County GIS and the State of Washington, now in its fifteenth year, to bring low-cost, instructor-led GIS training to public agency employees across the state, and beyond.

Background – Washington Department of Enterprise Services
DES celebrates our long-standing collaboration with King County in being able to offer a full array of GIS training to State employees. Partnership between King County GIS and the State of Washington was initiated in 2007 with the WA State Department of Personnel (DOP). In the agreement, King County would reserve three seats for DOP in each class offered, and add an additional three seats if needed, for a total of six government agency students per class offered.

In May of 2011 the responsibility for managing state-wide training transferred from DOP to the Department of Enterprise Services (DES), and a new Interagency Agreement was entered into. Since this agreement, DES has been able to coordinate training seats for over a dozen different GIS classes, from GIS Fundamentals to Advanced GIS courses. In 2020, during the pandemic when training abruptly shifted from in-person to virtual platforms, King County was able to continue offering classes and DES made them available for state employees to enroll.

The King County GIS Training Program
The KCGIS Training Program is King County’s multi-faceted approach to providing standardized and custom training options to meet the educational needs of new and seasoned GIS professionals. We offer a mix of learning opportunities, which includes ArcGIS Pro® classes, custom King County GIS Training Express™ classes, free one-hour workshops, and specialized classes offered by our GIS training partners.

The King County GIS Center offers a tailored selection of GIS software, data, and business-process learning opportunities. You’ll learn hands-on from experienced, highly effective instructors in our convenient, well-equipped Seattle training facility. ArcGIS for Desktop classes are taught by Esri Certified Trainer Mary Ullrich. Mary is a working GIS analyst and CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT ). Our ArcGIS for Desktop classes utilize training curricula and workbooks from our training partner, TeachMeGIS of Houston, Texas.

How to sign-up for GIS training via DES
In addition to GIS classes, DES offers a variety of other trainings. Classes are available to Washington State employees and also to employees of other entities such as cities, counties, tribes, higher education, etc. It’s easy for non-state agency learners to register for a course, including GIS classes, via our DES Training Website. Simply click on the “Browse by Category” link and navigate to the Geographic Information System (GIS) link, or “Browse by Course Title” to select a specific course. By clicking on the class link and then scrolling to the bottom of the page, you will see the dates classes will be offered.

Submit the DES on-line Training Registration Request form to begin the enrollment process. A friendly DES Learning Solutions staff will soon connect with you to complete the enrollment process.

Public Sector Agencies & Higher Education

The Department of Enterprise Services serves many other entities such as cities, counties, tribes, higher education, etc. Contact your designated training representative or use this online form to submit your training registration request.

WA Sate employees are able to access training offerings through The Learning Center, the state’s training management system. Logging into the Learning Center is easy through single sign-on (SSO) or SecureAccess Washington (SAW). The Learning Center has replaced the previous Learning Management System (LMS) with better functionality and performance, making registration for classes an easy, seamless process.

We are also happy to announce that access to DES trainings are now opened up to government agencies of other states as well. Employees of Washington State cities, counties, tribal entities, school districts, governmental subdivisions, federal government organizations, and nonprofits that are 501 C (3) wanting to attend a DES training class should use the training registration request form.

DES’ portfolio of course offerings consists of popular, high-quality, and cost-competitive trainings. Our training categories include leadership development, risk management, certificate programs, communications, and more. Additionally, through an exclusive partnership with Vital Smarts and Franklin Covey, we’re able to offer their classes, associated tool-kits and passes at an unbeatable discounted rate.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, our team has shifted to working remotely and focusing on the development and delivery of instructor-led virtual trainings. We offer over 1000 classes per year and the vast majority are now offered virtually. Our instructors are world-class professionals who we’ve contracted through a State procurement process. Their class materials and delivery are designed to meet best practice standards for virtual learning.

About/contact the Authors and to learn more:
Marcia Moody, Learning Consultant, Workforce Support and Development. Marcia has served in this position for approx.. 18 months and manages a portfolio of over 180 courses. For more information visit the DES training website at:, or email

Greg Babinski is the King County GIS Marketing and Business Development Manager. Contact Greg at

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