January 8, 2018
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Audit: Washington could be a doing a much better job on workforce training


Across the state, the refrain from Washington employers is consistent, clear and urgent: businesses can't find the qualified people they need to fill good jobs that are open right now and that will be open in the near future.

A new, 78-page report from the Washington state auditor's office agrees with that assessment, and said the state could do a much better job of training students for jobs that pay well but don't necessarily require a four-year college degree.

"Many mid-level-skill jobs, in industries as diverse as robotics, carpentry and medical technology, pay well and require no more than two years of education from a community or technical college," the report notes. "However, Washington employers report being unable to fill many such jobs."

The audit identified four areas for improvement:

  1. Improve career guidance given to students and provide it in a classroom setting in the 7th or 8th grade.
  2. Strengthen employer engagement to better align Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and courses with high-wage industry-needed job skills.
  3. Update the list of high-demand programs, strengthen the review of local labor demand data and clarify laws to help reduce the skills gap.
  4. Expand the number of CTE dual-credit opportunities to increase the number of pathways from high school to college.

The full report is available here, and the auditor's office also has a short two-page summary. The Seattle Times covered the story as well.

Contact Amy Anderson, director of the AWB Institute, to learn more about the ways that AWB is working to ensure that Washington is helping prepare the workforce that employers need today and into the future.



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A simple enough plan to understand, yet apparently difficult for some lawmakers to follow.

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