June 29, 2020
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Get the resources to safely reopen at the AWB Rebound and Recovery website

AWB’s Rebound and Recovery website has hit a milestone of 15,000 site visits since it opened a month ago. The site is connecting small and medium-sized employers with the sanitizing wipes, face masks, gloves and other PPE they need to safely reopen or keep their doors open to customers, as well as customizable plans and signage for both employees and customers.

Since its launch May 26, the website has enabled more than 3,500 employers to search for PPE providers and connect with local sources of key equipment. The top PPE requests are for sanitizing wipes, disposable face masks and hand sanitizer, followed by gloves and rated masks.

"New suppliers are being added daily," said AWB Government Affairs Director Tommy Gantz. "If you have not had success in locating the PPE you need, please keep trying as newly added PPE suppliers could be the match you're looking for."

Website visitors are also able to browse a variety of tool kit items which include the Safe Work Plan template, employee safety poster, customer posters and physical distancing floor stickers.

The site also has an additional resources list of reopening plans, with links to phase-by-phase guidelines, HR and safety information.

The website is not only connecting employers with needed resources, but also helping support Washington jobs. Nearly 200 manufacturers and distributors are listed in the PPE Connect directory, connecting employers with “Made in Washington” manufacturers and suppliers of PPE.

To learn more, contact Gantz.

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Now More Than Ever, Health Insurance Matters
Invest in Early Childhood Education

Fixing child-care shortage and Washington's economic recovery go hand in hand

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

As Washington gets back to business, many job-seeking parents of young children face a frustrating double bind. Even if they do find employment that will help them provide for their family, the short supply of quality, affordable child care makes it impossible for them to take the job.

Nearly half -- 47% -- of unemployed parents cited lack of child care as a barrier to re-employment in a May survey, according to a state Child Care Collaborative Task Force child-care industry assessment. Since March, more than 1,100 licensed child-care providers have at least temporarily closed, exacerbating a shortage flagged by state lawmakers long before COVID-19...

Even before this spring's upheaval, nearly half of Washington parents reported difficulty finding and keeping affordable child care. Twenty-seven percent reported leaving a job, school or training because of a lack of consistent, affordable care, according to a Department of Commerce report.

This is not just a problem for working families; it is a drain on the state's economy. Commerce estimates that employee turnover and missed work due to child-care issues create an annual $2.08 billion drag on the state economy. That number triples when figuring in opportunity costs.

Addressing Washington's child-care shortage will not be easy, especially during the tough economic times ahead. But quality, affordable child care is a linchpin to the state's economic recovery. More must be done to ensure this essential sector does not fail.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Foreign Workers Support Our Economy

Big Tech isn't the only loser in Trump's visa freeze

By Tae Kim

On Monday, Trump signed an executive order that freezes access to a number of work visas through year-end, including the H-1B visa for highly-skilled foreigners, which is primarily given to workers in the technology industry. The issuance of new green cards will also stay halted until the end of the year. The administration said the order would free up jobs for unemployed Americans, adding it would block about 500,000 people from entering the country this year.

The move sparked an avalanche of criticism from technology companies. They said the measures will hurt their ability to recruit talent and have deeper negative ramifications for the economy.

An Amazon.com Inc. spokesperson called the order "shortsighted," adding it prevents "high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America's economic recovery, [putting] American's global competitiveness at risk."

A Facebook Inc. representative said Trump is using the pandemic as justification for "limiting" immigration, which will make "our country's recovery even more difficult."

And Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith said on social media, "Now is not the time to cut our nation off from the world's talent or create uncertainty and anxiety."

Read the full column in The Seattle Times