December 4, 2017
Fast Facts
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Senate Republicans announce 2018 committee appointments

As Senate Democrats officially take control of the chamber with the swearing in of newly elected Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, Senate Republicans announced their new committee assignments.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce features SEL's approach to workplace wellness

AWB's newly named Employer of the Year is being featured in a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce video. The video highlights Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories' on-site healthcare clinics in Pullman and Lewiston as part of their workplace wellness series.

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Employment Security Department to hold second meeting of Paid Family & Medical Leave Advisory Committee

As it develops its rules to implement the new Paid Family & Medical Leave law, the Washington Employment Security Department will take comments as rulemaking begins on Dec. 12. A meeting that day in Lacey will address specifics of implementation.

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Improving Career Pathways

Rewarding, good-paying careers await hands-on workers

By AWB President Kris Johnson

As many as 740,000 good-paying jobs in the state's manufacturing sector are open. These are jobs that often require a trade certificate or a two-year degree.

Filling all those hands-on jobs means we must rethink not only how we close the skills gap, but also the "interest gap" for the next generation of builders, welders and makers.

Too often, these good-paying career pathways take a backseat to a four-year degree track. The good news is that both tracks -- the trades and a bachelor's degree -- can be equally successful.

I recently traveled to Switzerland with the governor and a group of business leaders and education experts from across the state to look at the country's successful and robust apprenticeship programs, which are geared toward engaging 16-19-year-olds in meaningful work.

In the Swiss system, young apprentices can easily shift career paths or seek higher education after earning their initial training diploma. It's focused on options and opportunities -- right after graduation and into the future. I heard from several young people who said they were "finished" with the classroom by ninth grade and eager to work with their hands...

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
Bigger Issues at Play

Blaming Amazon for the Seattle area's problems is lazy and wrong-headed

By Washington State Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender

Our thriving economy is bringing additional people who buy homes and use our transportation systems, and we have Amazon along with every other growing company to thank for that. But the problem isn't too many jobs, and the solution is definitely not to blame our job-creating engines. Over the course of many years, we've amassed a deficit of about 120,000 homes in the state.

Subtracting Amazon from the housing equation would leave us still experiencing growth and escalating housing prices, just like many other states, yet with tens of thousands fewer high-wage jobs.

Blaming our entire housing affordability crisis on Amazon ultimately leads to a defeatist attitude. It also does a massive disservice to people experiencing homelessness, families struggling to stay in their homes, and businesses trying to source a local workforce...

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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