Schmudget Blog
— filed under: ,

Investing in Washington’s Workforce

Posted by jeffc at Jan 18, 2010 12:00 PM |
Filed under: ,

Emerging out of the recession with our economic competitiveness intact will require an investment in workforce training. As the economy begins to grow, we will need to have workers whose skills match up with the needs of employers in the fields of green energy, health care, life sciences, accounting, and engineering.

The Worker Retraining Program, operated through our state’s community and technical colleges, provides training for dislocated and unemployed workers to gain the new skills and knowledge needed to successfully re-enter the workforce. The program pays for instructors, curriculum, as well as financial aid that helps pay for tuition, books, fees, and other related expenses for individuals who lost their jobs due to economic changes.

The program is effective. Over 80% of participants find jobs within three quarters of completion.* Workers who were in high paying jobs were able to recover 87% of their previous income within that time period. Workers who were in lower wages job were able to recover 118%.*

The graph below, from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, shows how enrollment in the program has spiked along with the unemployment rate and is expected to increase to 16,000 by 2010-11.*

worker retraining program

In response to the growing need, Governor Gregoire has proposed funding the Worker Retraining Program for an additional 2,500 (FTE) Washington workers. This is a step in the right direction, but it still leaves thousands of unfunded slots and other applicants being turned away. And at the same time, her budget proposes other reductions in funding for community and technical colleges on top of last year’s cuts that will strain their ability to provide education and training. Additionally, deep cuts in health care, child care, and other areas will also harm workers.

Maintaining our edge in a growing and changing economy will require a state budget that invests in Washington’s workforce.

 * Worker Retraining Program Accountability Report

 

Document Actions
HIGHLIGHTS

Sign Up for #BudgetMatters17!

We will host two Budget Matters policy summits this year – one in Spokane on October 31 and one in Seattle on December 6! 

Our Policy Priorities

Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance to build a better Washington.

Budget Beat!

Check out the Budget Beat webinars we hosted throughout the 2017 legislative session, including our most recent Budget Beat about federal budget proposals, featuring Louisa Warren of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on our YouTube channel

Testimonies in Olympia

To advance our legislative priorities, the Budget & Policy Center team was in the state capitol throughout session testifying on a wide range of bills. Watch our testimonies on TVW:
Misha TVW