Gov. Inslee Proposes “Jobs” Plan for Washington

Governor Inslee today released a plan for “…revitalizing Washington’s economy, creating jobs and ensuring we have workers with the knowledge and skills to fill those jobs.”  It reads an awful lot like a budget….

The categories of strategies are Education, Improving the business climate, Advancing aerospace leadership, Clean energy, and Health care. Three of these might hold some opportunity for higher ed generally and CWU specifically.

Redundant strategies (the high demand pool of FTEs) are in “Educating a 21st century workforce” and “Advancing aerospace leadership.”

Inslee’s plan is “workforce-centric,” with heavy emphasis on technical and community college training. It also is very generous to WSU. However, it’s not easy to see how it supports the state goal in HB 1795 of an additional 6,000 baccalaureate degrees by 2020. But perhaps there will be a follow-up to this “jobs” plan.

Here is a snapshot of the proposal from a higher-ed perspective. 

Educating a 21st century workforce.

  1. Support 500 enrollment slots in high-demand aerospace training programs.
  2. Establish a “talent pipeline” from high school to community and technical college to career by expanding industry-developed high school skills programs and allow credits earned to transfer to college.
  3. Ensure instructors have the skills and knowledge to teach the latest technologies and manufacturing processes by funding “Return to Industry” grants across the 24 community and technical colleges that offer aerospace-related programs.
  4. Create a college-level STEM and aerospace enrollment pool. The six public universities will compete for enrollment funds by demonstrating the quality and effectiveness of their proposals.
  5. Establish an electrical engineering program in Everett through Washington State University.
  6. Support the STEM Education Innovation Alliance. This group representing the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, business, labor, nonprofits and STEM educators advises the Governor and provides the state with a vision and assistance for STEM education initiatives.

Advancing Washington’s aerospace leadership.

1. Continue the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation that promotes industry / university collaborations in developing new technologies and performing research. Established by the Legislature in 2012, the center has awarded its first round of grants to 16 innovative research projects.

2. Position Washington to win the 777X and future Boeing programs by continuing funding for the Governor’s Office of Aerospace. Matched with outside contributions, the office can continue its work in analyzing, developing and implementing strategies to create aerospace-related jobs, including those for future commercial airplane assembly lines and components.

Clean energy, climate action and plentiful water.

  1. Invest to develop clean energy solutions
  2. Invest in clean energy and climate solutions for transportation
  3. Extend the electric vehicle fast-charging network across Interstate 90 and Highway 101
  4. Support increased production at the state’s biodiesel refineries and oilseed farms
  5. Establish a new Center of Excellence Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment at Washington State University
  6. Identify actions to achieve our greenhouse gas emissions limits
  7. Implement the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Management Plan

About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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