April 8, 2019
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'Rural Community Vitality' listening tour coming to Toppenish, Aberdeen, Colville and Quincy

Recognizing that education, workforce training and other key issues are a real challenge in rural Washington, employers and community members will have a chance to weigh in during a series of listening sessions across the state over the coming weeks.

The "Rural Community Vitality Forums" will be held in Toppenish (April 23), Aberdeen (April 25), Colville (May 14), and Quincy (May 16) to ask the local community what’s working, and what’s not.

This rural “listening tour” is being held by the state’s Workforce Board, which helps convene and oversee the state’s workforce system. AWB has held a separate series of rural jobs summits over the past two years, and encourages participation in this set of events as well.

"I encourage anyone interested to participate," said AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis, who coordinates AWB's rural jobs advocacy. "This is a good opportunity for employers to discuss the workforce challenges and opportunities found in the rural areas."

An economist from the Workforce Board will provide a snapshot of the local economy. Then a federal facilitator from the U.S. Department of Labor will help capture attendee comments and frame next steps. Once the comments are compiled, participants will have a chance to provide input before a report is provided to state and federal policymakers.

"This is your chance to be heard, and make a difference where you live," the Workforce Board said in announcing the events. "Tell us your story, give us your perspective, and help shape solutions. This will be a facilitated but free-flowing discussion, so come prepared to participate."

To ensure a firm headcount, attendees are asked to pre-register for any of the free forums here. The site also has details on the locations and time for each event.

AWB has been working on rural issues for years. To learn more about AWB's Rural Jobs effort, contact Mike Ennis.

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