April 11, 2016
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Energy Northwest takes first place in Safety Awards of Excellence competition

Energy Northwest received top honors in this year’s Safety Awards of Excellence competition. The American Public Power Association (APPA) gave Energy Northwest the top award for utilities with between one and four million worker-hours (approximately 500 to 2,000 employees).

Not only did Energy Northwest win first place, its score was more than 10 times better than the second-place recipient, a power provider in Nebraska. More than 250 utilities enter the annual safety awards.

“A record such as yours is indicative of high standards in the workplace and is vital to safe and productive utility operations,” said Aaron Haderle, chair of the APPA safety committee, who recognized Energy Northwest during the 2016 Engineering & Operations Technical Conference in Minneapolis.

Energy Northwest was also recognized for its strong safety record by AWB in 2014 and the Northwest Public Power Association in 2015

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Let's Seek Solutions Together

It's time to move forward on charter schools

By Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education and an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington Bothell

Charter schools aren't some magic solution. But they are proving themselves a valued component of 21st-century public schooling by demonstrating what's possible when schools are freed from certain rules and regulations in exchange for being held accountable for student outcomes. Far from a distraction, charter schools are here to stay. Far from damaging public education, when ably implemented, charter schools enrich and strengthen the fabric of public education.

It is time to move on and focus on students, not battle lines...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Workers Needed for Good Jobs

A job in the trades can bring financial, personal success

By Mike Sotelo, co-founder of the Combined Ethnic Chamber

A four-year apprenticeship program can equal or exceed the earning potential of a postsecondary degree. An apprentice electrician earns $19 an hour, which can be achieved the first year out of high school. By the time an electrician completes a five-year apprenticeship program, he or she could be making close to $100,000 a year.

Unfortunately, every time trade employers need workers, they scratch their heads and do whatever they can to attract and retain employees to fit their business models. Contractors are hiring anyone who can fog a mirror because there aren't enough bodies...

Shop classes are disappearing because schools are losing funding. The deeper challenge is we need to start instilling pride into the traditional trades. Even when I was young, I used to say, "I am just a construction worker." I almost apologized for it. We have to start recognizing that our society would grind to a halt without skilled carpenters, laborers, chefs and hotel managers...
Click here to read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
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