January 13, 2020
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Washington ranked No. 8 for business by Forbes magazine

A new report from Forbes magazine ranks Washington No. 8 in the country for the best states for business.

The state scored in the top 10 in the categories of labor supply, economic climate and growth prospects. Business costs were ranked No. 15, the regulatory environment ranked No. 29 and the quality of life metric was ranked No. 30.

Education, population growth and union membership were factors in the state's No. 4 ranking for labor supply, Forbes explains.

The ranking for the regulatory environment is based on things influenced by government, the magazine explains.

"It considers the liability system, property rights, health insurance and the labor market," according to Forbes. "Other data points include Moody’s bond rating on the state’s general obligation debt and the transportation infrastructure including air, highway and rail."

Opportunity Washington breaks down the scoring and offers some perspective here.

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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