April 11, 2016
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New on the blog: Trans-Pacific Partnership one key to Washington's economic and job growth

The White House reports that American exports were not only key to lifting the nation out of the Great Recession, but broke a record for American exports for the fifth year in a row, "selling $2.34 trillion in goods and services abroad."

Washington state knows this all too well – the more we sell abroad, the more we grow our state's economy, generate tax dollars to pay for education, create jobs and open up opportunity in every corner of the state.

That's why it was so disappointing to see 23 members from the state House of Representatives send a letter to Washington state's congressional delegation asking them to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

They even went so far as to call the proposed trade deal "a real danger."

“The true danger is state lawmakers not acknowledging that 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the U.S. And, Washington's goods are stars among overseas markets, generating billions in state and local tax collections,” AWB Government Affairs Director Amy Anderson writes in a new post at Olympia Business Watch.

The Washington Council on International Trade created a video to illustrate what the state would look like without international trade.

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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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