January 22, 2018
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New report from Washington Roundtable: Unlocking Washington's Full Potential

Washington is thriving overall and ranks among the top 10 states for job growth and top five states for income growth, according to “Unlocking Washington’s Full Potential,” a new report from the Washington Roundtable. But scratch the surface, and observers will notice that this progress is incredibly lopsided between urban and rural Washington. More than 70 percent of the new jobs created from 2011-15 were in the North I-5 corridor, while other regions posted job growth in the single digits.

Authors wrote that their analysis “exposes a stark, and potentially growing, urban-rural divide. Washington needs a concentrated effort to drive growth in its rural communities.”

How to fix it? The report summarizes five areas to focus on: Human capital, or a sufficient workforce; Infrastructure, including better roads and more broadband access; innovation ecosystem, or a business culture that encourages research, development and entrepreneurship; trade and investment, including access to capital; and the public policy climate, including a growth-oriented tax policy.

“There is opportunity to maintain Washington’s top-five position for per-capita income growth and boost its position to become a top-five state for job growth by bridging the urban-rural divide and driving growth that is distributed more equitably statewide,” the report says.

The same concerns prompted AWB to host a pair of Rural Jobs summits last year, and form a Rural Jobs Task Force to seek solutions.

Click for a summary of the new report, or read the full document here.

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Key Workforce Education

Help community colleges meet job training needs

By The Editorial Board of The (Everett) Herald

The state's 34 community and technical colleges are playing an indispensable role in educating and preparing students for further study and advanced degrees at universities but also for more immediate jobs with employers throughout the state, particularly in manufacturing and other trades.

With some 740,000 job openings in the state expected over the next five years -- and more than half of those requiring post-high school education and training -- community and technical colleges represent the best option for many of those students...

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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