February 25, 2019
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More spending, new taxes looming larger in Olympia

As the 2019 legislative session nears the half-way point, the list of spending priorities identified by Democratic leaders far outpaces the state's projected revenue, reporter Jerry Cornfield writes in The Herald of Everett. This despite the considerable growth in state tax revenue over the last several years. For context, Washington's state governmental spending has already increased 44 percent since 2008, and the state has $4 billion in new tax collections going into this budget-writing session.

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Forward Washington transportation package unveiled with $17 billion in investments

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, unveiled his $17.1 billion transportation package last week. The measure includes a $15 per ton carbon fee, which would raise about $7.9 billion over the next 10 years. AWB members made it clear during a recent tour that new transportation funding is needed throughout the state, but elements of the bill are concerning to employers, including the carbon fee and statewide impact fees. The bill will have its first public hearing on Thursday.

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Better workforce skills, economic development on state superintendent's agenda

Washington's top schools official wants to rewrite the rules of public education so more kids can graduate with workforce-ready skills. Speaking last week at AWB's Lobby Lunch meeting, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said students need to have multiple pathways into a complicated economy. State Auditor Pat McCarthy joins Lobby Lunch this week.

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SEH America helps pilot career-connected learning program as Legislature looks at expansion

Five community college students are earning $12 to $14 an hour as apprentices in a "manufacturing technician career launch pilot" program at SEH America, an east Vancouver silicon wafer-maker. A hearing last week in Olympia for a career-connected learning bill aims to expand this kind of program.

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Learn how to attract and retain the best talent at the 2019 Workforce Summit March 6 in Bellevue

Workplace culture is the focus of AWB's third-annual Workforce Summit coming up March 6 in Bellevue. Join workplace law experts, human resource professionals and other cutting-edge employment innovators for practical solutions to modern workplace issues like financial and mental wellness - and learn how to build a culture that will help you attract and retain the best talent. Register now to reserve your spot.

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Workforce Summit
Attack on the Dams

Inslee's proposed Snake River dam task force will be a waste of money

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

State legislators looking to trim the budget this session can save $750,000 straight off if they don't fund a proposed Snake River dams task force.

A new state committee is not going to be able to compete with the federal team that has been studying this same issue since September 2016, so trying to duplicate the effort is absurd.

The Snake River dams are critical to the economy of Eastern Washington and the Northwest. They play an important role in providing irrigation, hydropower and navigation.

Community leaders note that barging on the inland Columbia Snake River system moves, on average, about 9 million tons of cargo valued at more than $3 billion each year. The dams are part of the lifeblood of the region.

But anti-dam activists want to see them gone, and the plight of the Puget Sound orcas are fueling their efforts...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
Practical Education

Career Link seeks to pair students, employers

By The Herald Editorial Board

A new partnership between the Everett School District and the City of Everett -- Everett Career Link -- is looking to pair local employers with Everett high school juniors and seniors in internships that provide career-connected experience to the students as they explore their interests and prepare plans for the future.

The school district is providing employers with training and guidance in setting up the internships and matching students to internships, paperwork regarding state Labor and Industries compliance and liability and ongoing support during the internships.

While it's at the employer's discretion to offer interns a stipend, the program is intended as an outgrowth of the classroom; students -- for their 90 hours of participation -- will earn half of the Career and Technical Education credit they need toward their high school graduation requirement.

More than the students benefit. The time spent with local students can help employers develop deeper ties in the community, get a better understanding of the work underway in schools and appreciation for the pool of talent that exists in their own community.

We've repeated the forecast often, first made by Washington Roundtable, that employers in Washington state expect some 740,000 new jobs to be available by 2021. And nearly 80 percent of those jobs will be either career jobs that require a college degree or career-pathway jobs that require at least some level of post-high school training and certification...

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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