January 13, 2020
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Legislative session kicks off with speed as 60-day clock begins ticking

AWB's government affairs team is already deeply engaged as the Legislature officially begins its 60-day "short" session today. Hearings on major legislation and budget issues are already taking place this week. Your chance to directly engage with lawmakers is coming on Jan. 28 at the AWB Legislative Day & Hill Climb.

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Don't miss your chance to connect with lawmakers at Legislative Day & Hill Climb on Jan. 28

The annual AWB Legislative Day & Hill Climb allows AWB members to take their business issues and concerns directly to our elected officials. Non-members can register for the reception, but the hill climb and legislative update are members-only, exclusive-access opportunities. If your business is a member of AWB, register today! If it's not, click here to learn more about the benefits of joining.

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Rally planned as hundreds attend discussion to highlight costs and impacts of dam breaching

A "Know the Dam Facts" public rally in support of the Snake River dams is taking place this evening in Pasco, immediately before a public workshop to be held about possibly breaching the four hydroelectric dams. A hearing last week attracted hundreds of people, many expressing concerns about the loss of crucial transportation methods as well as electrical production if the dams are removed.

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Transportation budget takes prominence, with low-carbon fuel standard also causing concern

Legislative leaders are quickly holding hearings to address the supplemental transportation budget, which faces a nearly $500 million hole after voters approved a rollback of vehicle tab fees. AWB is watching that issue closely, and is also weighing in on proposals for a low-carbon fuel standard, which would raise the cost of fuel by around 60 cents a gallon -- causing the gross regional product to actually shrink.

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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