November 28, 2016
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THIS FRIDAY: Help AWB light the state's Christmas tree



The AWB Holiday Kids’ Tree will be lit this Friday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. The tree, a noble fir from Weyerhaeuser’s Vail-area tree farm, arrives on the Capitol grounds for decorations tomorrow. Meanwhile, plans are coming together for this year's event, including the naming of the family that will light the tree.

Chief Maungwai Soe, the command drug and alcohol program advisor at Naval Base Kitsap, will light the tree with his wife and their two young children. Soe is the commanding officer's advisor on all matters relating to alcohol or other drugs and is also responsible for the successful completion of Funeral Honors Services in support of active, retired, and honorably separated service members. In keeping with tradition, Gov. Jay Inslee will join this military family for the tree-lighting.

This tree lighting is part of the 28th annual AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB hosts the lighting of the tree in the state Capitol rotunda each December. A special part of the event is the presentation of toys and cash gifts for rural fire districts to give out to needy families across the state.

Since 1989, the AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project has raised and given away more than $390,000 to families in need. Firefighters have mentioned that these donations are often the only funds they receive to help needy families during the holiday season.

The theme for this year's tree decorations is "under the sea," and will again feature oversized stuffed characters from popular kids’ movies and television programs as tree ornaments. As always, when the tree comes down, those stuffed animals along with a book are given to children receiving care at a Puget Sound-area children’s hospital.

To donate to this project, contact AWB's Bonnie Millikan.



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A Lack of Effective Training

Too many Washington kids are not college- or job-ready

By Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable

Students in Washington classrooms today will soon enter a job market bursting with opportunities. New research from The Boston Consulting Group and the Washington Roundtable projects 740,000 job openings in our state in just the next five years. State job growth over that period is expected to be nearly triple the national average.

Increasingly, Washington students will need a postsecondary credential -- such as a technical or industry certification or license, apprenticeship, associate degree or bachelor's degree -- to access the best job opportunities our state has to offer.

A survey of Washington Roundtable member companies shows a universal preference to hire Washington kids for Washington jobs. We have no doubt other employers feel similarly.

The challenge is this: Just 31 percent of the students who attend a public high school in our state go on to attain a postsecondary credential by age 26. Less than a third are prepared for the jobs of the future. 

That's not good enough.

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Supporting the Snake River Dams

Our dams support us; it's time to support them

By U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Following Judge Michael Simon's recent decision to require a full review of the Columbia and Snake River systems, there has been a movement to reevaluate what our dams mean to Eastern Washington.

Here in our region, the four lower Snake River dams provide renewable, reliable, affordable energy and act as a superhighway for barges to transport goods. As a community, we need to let our federal partners know that we want to continue to invest in and improve our dams.

Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers is undertaking a public "scoping" period through January 17, 2017, providing an opportunity for Eastern Washington residents to voice their support for dams and the benefits they offer to the region.

Read the full op-ed from The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
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