November 12, 2018
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Top Stories

Rural Jobs Summit covers ground on solutions to revitalize, energize rural communities

The energy at AWB's 2018 Rural Jobs Summit last Thursday and Friday was palpable as nearly 150 community leaders, policymakers, industry experts and Washington employers gathered at Lower Columbia College in Longview to address the many challenges facing rural Washington's economic recovery. Expert panelists covered challenges to rural economic opportunity, including broadband access, support for the natural resources industry, finding skilled workers and more. The event lays the foundation to build AWB's 2019 Rural Jobs Legislative Objective.

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Voters soundly reject I-1631 energy tax

For the second time in two years, voters rejected a carbon tax on the statewide ballot that would have raised the cost of fuel, energy and natural gas for families and businesses. The measure failed in 36 of Washington's 39 counties with more than 56 percent of voters saying "no" to the new tax. Voters soundly rejected a similar measure, I-732, in 2016.

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State House and Senate Democrats add to their legislative majorities; Congressional seat moves to Democrats

Democratic majorities will increase in the state House and Senate after last week's general election. While many races are close, and ballots are still being counted, it appears that two seats in the Senate will move to the Democrat side of the aisle for certain and roughly four or more House seats will turn from Republican to Democrat. Updated vote totals can be seen here. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats voted today to select Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, as the new Senate majority leader.

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Other News

U.S. Chamber Foundation program focused on veteran, transitioning military and military spouse employment

"Hiring Our Heroes," a nationwide initiative of the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation, helps veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. Employers play a critical role in the success of the program.

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YesVets campaign puts spotlight connecting veterans with employment opportunities

The effort to support veterans and transitioning military members often starts with a job. YesVets, partnership of state government, military agencies and support groups as well as chambers of commerce, encourages employers to look at veterans to fill their workforce needs.

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Paid Family and Medical Leave rolls out Jan. 1; employer toolkit now available

The first phase of the statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program begins Jan. 1. To help employers prepare for the Jan. 1 implementation, the state Employment Security Department has created a handy employer toolkit.

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Port of Seattle vetting plans for bold investments on area's waterfront

A plan to invest $340 million in cargo, new cruise ship facilities and other maritime improvements is underway at the Port of Seattle. Port executives, commissioners and staff have been studying the projects for more than 18 months.

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PNNL to host Department of Energy's CyberForce Competition

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will help host a national university-level cyber security competition at the end of the month. PNNL will host 16 teams from across the region for the Department of Energy's CyberForce Competition -- and it could use some help. PNNL is looking for volunteers, job fair participants and sponsors to help support the event.

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AWB Events & Resources

Nov. 15 webinar: Preparing for Paid Family Leave & Medical Leave

Businesses must be ready when Washington's new Paid Family and Medical Leave Act takes effect on Jan. 1. Learn the essentials about this important new law in an AWB webinar on Nov. 15. The webinar will be led by workplace law expert Shannon Lawless, an attorney with Ryan Swanson Law. Learn more and register online.

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Reserve your spot now at AWB's third-annual Evening of Excellence awards

The finalists have been announced for AWB's third-annual Evening of Excellence awards. This is AWB's chance to celebrate innovation, environmental stewardship and the overall community spirit of Washington's diverse employer community -- and enjoy a red-carpet evening at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The winners will be revealed at the awards gala Nov. 28.

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Tweet of the Week

A Beautiful Day for Rural Jobs Summit

They Said It

Exports Support WA Jobs

"We need more of a focus on trade than we ever have." 

~ Alex McGregor, chairman of the board at The McGregor Co., speaking during the Natural Resources panel at AWB's third Rural Jobs Summit, held last week in Longview.

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Celebrating Excellence
Support Military Spouse Employment

On Veterans Day, think also of military spouses

By Tonya Drake, WGU Washington Chancellor

Few roles in life require as much patience, perseverance and dedication as that of a military spouse.

As we look toward Veterans Day, let us also remember the sacrifices of those who support our military personnel at home. They provide the foundation that supports military families through deployments, relocations, and transitions.

Military life is demanding and can create significant barriers for military spouses seeking employment. Recent data highlight the challenges of keeping dual-income families functioning when connected to the military. According to a report published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring our Heroes program, the military spouse unemployment rate remains four times the current rate of their civilian counterparts.

As a result, military spouses often find themselves taking jobs that don't align with their education or training due to frequent moves or managing a household while their spouse is deployed.

Read the full guest column in The Tri-City Herald
Election Expands Urban-Rural Divide

It turned out there were two waves, not one, and our urban-rural divide just got wider

By Danny Westneat, Seattle Times columnist

That "wave" that everyone was talking about? It turns out it was just as polarized and divided as everything else in politics.

A liberal blue wave did roll in for Tuesday elections, at least in the suburbs. But a conservative red wave simultaneously coursed through the rural areas. As hard as it may be to imagine, Tuesday's election mostly showed that our yawning urban-versus-rural divide is only getting wider.

Democrats easily won back control of the U.S. House, and also solidified commanding control over the Washington state Legislature. This blue wave, fueled by anger at President Donald Trump, powerfully lifted Democrats in districts anywhere near a suburb -- or, say, within 30 miles of a Whole Foods store.

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
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