January 13, 2020
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New report: Washington should have built 225,600 more homes in past 15 years

Washington state's housing supply is almost a quarter million units short of what should have been built since 2000 to meet demand, according to a new national study. That makes Washington the eighth-worst state when it comes to underproduction of necessary homes, according to the report by the Washington, D.C., based Up for Growth nonprofit research firm.

Washington should have seen 225,600 homes between 2000 and 2015 to meet demand, according to the study. During the same time period, the nation as a whole underbuilt by 7.3 million units.

A functioning housing market should produce 1.1 housing units for every household formed. Washington produces 0.99 houses per household formed, creating a supply-and-demand imbalance that's resulted in "one of the most severe" housing shortages in the country, said Up for Growth Executive Director Mike Kingsella.

AWB worked with nine other statewide and regional groups last year to host the state's first-ever Housing Forum. Lawmakers from both parties discussed many of the reasons for the housing shortage and different ways to address the issue. Based on the success of that event, AWB is organizing a second Housing Forum this summer. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis to learn more.

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Effective Workforce Education

Path to apprenticeships now starts at high school

By Nate Nehring, a Snohomish County Council member

A four-year university education can be valuable for some, but many could benefit from greater access to pathways into the trades. While many college graduates now work minimum wage jobs and are burdened with student debt, high-paying trades jobs with competitive benefits sit empty.

In Snohomish County, we are working proactively to increase access to family-wage careers. Over the last two years, we have built a coalition of representatives from labor, industry and education. Community leaders from these sectors have come together to talk about how we can work together to provide meaningful solutions to the problem of a workforce shortage. What began as a group of stakeholders around a table has resulted in the creation of the Regional Apprenticeship Pathways (RAP) Program, which is being hailed as a potential statewide model for workforce development.

As a result of in-depth discussions between sectors and site tours of existing workforce development programs, the concept of a pre-apprenticeship program within the high school setting was organically produced. There currently exists several state-certified apprenticeship programs for a variety of skilled trades, from carpenters to electricians to laborers. What has been lacking is a pipeline of students with the basic skills and confidence to pursue these apprenticeship programs. The average apprentice is in his or her late 20s before beginning a program, representing an entire lost decade of post-high school productivity. As a group, our goal has been to bridge that 10-year gap...

Read the full guest column in The (Everett) Herald