March 5, 2018
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Can Swiss apprenticeship model help Washington boost high school graduation rates?

Washington has a strong history of apprenticeships, and the state is making progress, business leader and former head of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Maud Daudon told the Seattle Times in a recent discussion on career-centered education and what she gleaned during a recent trip to learn about Switzerland’s apprenticeship system. (Read more here about that trip, which included AWB President Kris Johnson, Gov. Jay Inslee, and other state leaders.)

Daudon, who is leading a strategic plan for the Career Connect Washington initiative, noted 5,000 apprenticeships, the Core Plus program and Apprenti as positive things going on in Washington now. In Switzerland, students can choose an academic or career path, and there’s no stigma to choosing one or the other. Multiple pathways permeate the Swiss system, and young people learn a sense of personal responsibility when they combine work and academic study.

Here in the United States, 70 percent of students need some form of postsecondary credential to support the economy, Daudon said, while only 30 percent complete a four-year degree.

“We have very little to lose by opening up new pathways,” she said.

Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson for more information on this initiative.

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A Lifetime of Learning

Workforce development begins young, continues over lifetime

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We all want our kids to grow up in a state with good-paying job prospects and the training to match them.

Today, there is a laser focus by our association's membership and other groups about the need to fill the workforce pipeline with skilled, job-ready workers. There simply aren't enough workers to fill the high-tech, high-wage jobs available in our state and nation.

We're working to address that problem by advocating for robust career and technical programming in our middle and high schools, training and certificate programs for high-demand jobs at our state's community and technical colleges.

We'll be talking about those very issues at the second-annual AWB Workforce Summit on March 21 in Bellevue.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Business World
Dealing with Debt

State needs to begin paying down its bond debt

By The Everett Herald Editorial Board

Duane Davidson, now in his second year of office, hasn't been one to pursue many policy issues with lawmakers, unlike his predecessor who outlined an ambitious tax reform proposal that earned little interest. But Davidson has taken a stand to defend against raids of the "rainy day" fund and asked lawmakers to consider using some of the additional revenue to pay down the state's bond debt, add to its "rainy day" reserves or pay more toward its unfunded pension obligations. Their choice.

"I think that money would be better spent paying down any debt, pick your debt," Davidson said.

And there's significant debt to pay down.

The state's Debt Affordability Study for 2018, released by Davidson's office, reports that the state's debt portfolio has over the course of the last 20 years grown from $6.8 billion to more than $19 billion and totals $21 billion when financing contracts are included....

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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