November 13, 2017
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Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
AWB Institute

Happy National Apprenticeship Week! Is apprenticeship right for you?


Apprenticeships are a tried and true workforce development strategy that have paid dividends for companies that use the program. Employers who utilize apprentices report higher productivity, higher retention rates and a substantial return on investment.

As the economy continues to grow, business leaders across all industries are in the best position to tell their success stories: that apprenticeships fulfill their need to create a pipeline of skilled workers to help them take their companies to the next level.

The U.S. Department of Labor is marking the third-annual starting today. The agency’s site lists six events being held in Washington to highlight apprenticeships.

“Apprenticeships hold great promise in helping American workers acquire the skills they need to get good jobs while ensuring companies can attract the talent required to succeed in this fast-moving global economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.

The site lists a number of benefits of apprenticeships:

  • Helps recruit and develop a highly skilled workforce
  • Improves productivity and the bottom line
  • Provides opportunities for tax credits and employee tuition benefits in some states
  • Reduces turnover costs and increases employee retention
  • Creates industry-driven and flexible training solutions to meet national and local needs
  • Allows workers to earn and learn at the same time

The week's events will include the first meeting of a new Apprenticeship Expansion Task Force.



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Rural Jobs Summit


Why Rural Economic Development Is Top of Mind in Washington State and Elsewhere

By Joshua Wright

Rural economic development is a thorny, multi-layered topic with many challenges and few obvious answers. But the summit -- hosted in Moses Lake by the Association of Washington Businesses -- was encouraging, not just because it focused on solutions for small towns and regions but also because so many people attended the event.

Sweeney himself said it speaks well for Washington that 250 decision-makers from every part of the state came together to talk rural jobs and economies.

"We put our focus on where the need is, and the need is the biggest in rural communities," said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington Department of Commerce.

Read the full essay at EconomicModeling.com
Quality Health Insurance


Association Health Plans offer model for the nation

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Since they were created, Association Health Plans (AHP) have grown in popularity, insuring as many as 400,000 people at their peak. Many of those people were not previously insured. For AWB's plan, approximately 40 percent of employers did not have prior coverage. It's clear that AHPs expand health care access and choices for small employers, their employees and families.

What's more, employers that start with an AHP tend to renew. Historically, as many as 90 percent renew coverage year after year...

Washington's AHPs offer high-quality health insurance plans with consumer protections like guaranteed issue (nobody can be denied coverage) and renewal built in. They are fully insured and comply with all state and federal mandates, including those contained in the Affordable Care Act such as dependent coverage up to age 26, lab and X-ray, preventative care and mental health services.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
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