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2008 State Legislative Session
Workforce Development Issues


For the latest Workforce Development Newsletter.

March 14, 2008

The Legislature adjourned Thursday, March 13, after adopting a supplemental budget and a pile of other bills. The attention now moves to the Governor who has 20 days, excluding Sundays,  to consider whether to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature during the last week of business.  The Governor had five days to act on any bills passed earlier in the session, as she did when she signed into law the Green Jobs bill, SB 2815, on Thursday. View our update of where workforce development bills stand, including a summary of the legislatively-adopted supplemental budget from a workforce development perspective.

The 2008 Workforce Development Directory is nearing completion. But there's still time to give us your thoughts on how to improve it. We want the directory to be your go-to guide on the many workforce training and education programs available statewide. We are looking to make this next edition of the directory more accessible and easier to use over the web.  So take a look at our current directory.  Drop us an email at mparr@wtb.wa.gov

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced yesterday that she introduced legislation to create a summer jobs program.  As proposed, the Summer Jobs Stimulus Act of 2008 (S. 2755) would authorize $1 billion for youth activities under the Workforce Investment Act and provide 1 million jobs to young people across the country.  Sen. Murray media release.

March 7, 2008

A green jobs bill goes to the Governor, some bills await concurrence with the other legislative body and still others are pending action in the budget.  Our list of workforce development bills can help you follow what's happening.  We will do a new update on our website by Monday noon.  See: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/BillDigest.asp

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will host a roundtable discussion at the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center in Everett, Tuesday, March 18, to explore ways to help students acquire skills needed in today's job market, while helping local businesses obtain the skilled workers they require. This is the second in a series of workforce conversations Murray is holding across the state. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at 9001 Airport Road.
For more on Sen. Murray's workforce development initiative, see:  http://murray.senate.gov/news.cfm?id=287984
For more information on the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center and how to find it, see: http://www.snoisletech.com/contactus.htm

Using cost-cutting measures, new service delivery approaches and partnerships with other community service programs, the state's Department of Social and Health Services' Division of Vocational Rehabilitation slashed a lengthy waiting list for people needing employment or vocational training. The agency shrunk the waiting list from a peak of 12,250 individuals in January 2007 to zero as of mid-February. Last year, DVR helped over 1,800 individuals with disabilities get productive jobs allowing them to move toward self-sufficiency. Congratulations to Director Lynnae Ruttledge and the dedicated team at DVR.
See the Governor's press release: 
http://www.governor.wa.gov/news/news-view.asp?pressRelease=805&newsType=1 .
For more on the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, see: http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/dvr/

The State Board of Community & Technical Colleges meets March 12 and 13 in Olympia to start the process for developing the next biennial budget.  See: http://www.sbctc.ctc.edu/general/n_index.aspx


February 29, 2008

Two House committees will meet together Wednesday, March 3 to consider the confluence of health care and economic development. The House Health Care & Wellness Committee and the House Community & Economic Development & Trade Committee will conduct a work session with employers, labor representatives and health care experts to talk about access to health care and the need for more trained health care workers. Meeting starts at 9 a.m. in House Hearing Room A.

View our comparison of the Governor, House and Senate budgets from a workforce development perspective.

Learn about nursing through one of almost a dozen summer programs, compiled conveniently by the Washington Center for Nursing. Check out this flyer but do it soon. The application for summer paid internships is due March 21. Other, shorter programs have later application deadlines.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has selected 15 applicants to receive Building Bridges grants. This recently-authorized program nurtures partnerships that build a comprehensive dropout prevention, intervention, and retrieval system. The Workforce Development Council Snohomish County and the Olympic Workforce Development Council received grants.
WDC Snohomish County Press Release
Information on the Building Bridges program

February 21, 2008

The state House Democrats released its supplemental budget yesterday. This proposed budget differs from the one proposed earlier by the Governor. For instance, the House budget includes $3 million for the Secondary Career & Technical Education bill. Also, the House budget provides $1 million for training hospital workers for high-demand health care careers which appears to replace the $3 million increase the Governor proposed for expanding nursing training.  Here's a more detailed description of the workforce development budget elements in the House proposed supplemental budget.

A partnership between Shoreline Community College and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County was of one six partnerships nationwide selected by the Aspen Institute's Workforce Strategies Initiative to join a three-year demonstration project. The"Automobile Career Pathways Project" will build on Shoreline's award-winning (2007 Governor's Award for Best Practices in Workforce Development) program of combining entry-level automobile technical training with English language and basic skills to open automotive service careers to non-traditional populations. Learn more about the Workforce Strategies Initiative at: http://www.aspenwsi.org/WSIwork-HigherEd.asp?pid=37

February 15, 2008

In proposing to eliminate all Perkins Act funding in the 2009 federal budget, the Bush administration has questioned the effectiveness of secondary CTE. Perhaps the administration should look closer at the Washington experience. Our data shows that students who complete a secondary CTE program are more likely to be employed and earn more money than those who do not. Three years after leaving secondary school, students who completed a CTE program on average earn $1,664 more per year than a student who did not. A CTE completer also generates tax revenue that exceeds the cost of the program, providing a net benefit to our tax receipts. You can learn more about the benefits of secondary CTE at: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Documents/2ndworks07.pdf  For information on the proposed federal budget cuts, go to: http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget09/summary/edlite-section2c.html

The 210 workers who lost their jobs when the Georgia Pacific Bellingham tissue mill closed in December have not lost their connection to each other or their community, thanks to a monthly newsletter designed just for them. Gary Smith, regional manager with the Northwest Workforce Development Council, said the G-P Labor Management Committee of union leaders, plant managers, and workforce and education professionals, formed as a result of the plant closure, knew that workers would need a wide-range of information at different times in the ensuing months. Delivered by e-mail and postal service, the two-page color newsletter provides a steady flow of information regarding job services, educational offerings, workshops and programs, including the G-P notification of Trade Act certification which now makes available U. S. Department of Labor Trade assistance.
December G-P Newsletter
January G-P Newsletter
February G-P Newsletter

After more than a week of intensive full session activities, the state House and Senate move back into committee schedule to review and take testimony on bills passed by the opposite body.  Starting Feb. 20 , there will be hearings on:  SB 6261 on Adult Youth; HCR 4408 on the HEC Board Master Plan; HB 2608 on clarifying terms such as "high demand" and the comprehensive CTE bill which has passed the House and Senate (two companion bills) without any "no" votes. Keep up with the latest on workforce development legislation, the status of the bills and the hearing schedules at:  http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Policy_State_Session2006.asp


February 8, 2008

At its January meeting, the Workforce Board opposed a recommendation by the Washington Center for Nursing (WCN) to require that after 2020 all  newly-licensed registered nurses have a bachelor of science in nursing or higher degree or obtain one within five years to be qualified to continue working as a registered nurse in the state. The Workforce Board's opposition was based, in part, on the severe shortage of registered nurses in Washington.  In the same motion, the Workforce Board urged the WCN to include in its draft plan for nursing education strategies that would expand associated degree nursing education opportunities in Washington. Separate skill gap analyses done by both the Workforce Board and the WCN indicate that we will need to increase nursing graduates by 400 to 500 nurses per year to meet future demand. To view the resolution, staff memo and the WCN draft master plan, go to: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Agenda_MeetingAgenda.asp and look for the nursing education agenda item.

Congratulations to the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development which has started the International Trade and Economic Development e-newsletter.  Agency Director Juli Wilkerson, who is also a Workforce Board participating official, says the newsletter provides information about the division's efforts, and those of its many partners, to retain and attract businesses and jobs. You can view and subscribe to their newsletter at: http://stats.imageslot.com/rwcode/content.asp?SID=0&Section=200140&SiteID=10928

The Washington Economic Development Association will hold its annual policy and winter conference in Olympia on Feb. 20 and 21. The event features, among other activities, lunch with a panel of legislators.  For more information, go to: http://www.wedaonline.org/conference/2008Winter/default.asp

Following its tradition of keeping to a strict schedule for bill passage, the state legislature has cutoff any further consideration of bills that have not passed a policy committee. The "cutoff"  narrows the field of legislation. Bills of workforce development interest that are still active include the comprehensive career and technical education bill developed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Workforce Board's agency-request legislation that standardizes definitions such as "high demand," and bills addressing green jobs training, work-site learning and young adult research. You can learn more about these and other bills by going to our legislative page at: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Policy_State_Session2006.asp

February 1, 2008

Yesterday, the Workforce Board formally endorsed the direction taken by the State Board of Education (SBE), at its January meeting, in regards to how high school students can complete a third credit of math. The SBE has directed its staff to develop a draft rule, allowing students to elect to pursue an approved program of study that would replace the Algebra II requirement.  Students would instead complete mathematics coursework that furthers their approved program of study.  See the Workforce Board resolution: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Documents/Tab8Complete.pdf

Martin McCallum, Workforce Board policy analyst, was elected chair of the Washington State Rehabilitation Council at its January meeting in Olympia.The counciladvises the state's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on improving consumer satisfaction and accountability.The council’s mission is to strengthen the quality of the division's services and to increase the number of people with disabilities in the workforce. The council meets quarterly. For more information, visit its website at: http://www.wastrehabcouncil.org .  

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced Tuesday that she and state legislative leaders will seek to add $3 million to this year's state budget for aerospace and technology apprenticeship programs.The Workforce Board estimates that Washington, in the next five years,is expected to produce only about one-third of the skilled workers necessary to meet industry’s demand for aircraft mechanics and technicians.

The Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center in Seattle is hosting the 10th Annual Maritime Career Day, Thursday, Feb. 7, from 8:30 am to 3 pm.  This free event introduces secondary students and adults to career pathways and opportunities in the maritime and fishery sectors. For more information, call 206.374.4000 ext. 110 or visit www.ody.org.

On Feb. 5, the House Capital Budget Committee will take testimony on HB 3330, which would authorize $130 million in state bonds to finance capital improvements of skill centers, including satellite and branch campus programs for underserved populations in rural and high-density areas.

Legislative committees have passed bills addressing strategic planning, green jobs, and other topics.  To review workforce development bills and their status, go to legislative webpage: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/BillDigest.asp

January 25, 2008 Update

WORKFORCE BOARD MEETING -- The Workforce Board will meet Jan. 31 at the New Market Skills Center in Tumwater.   The full-day public meeting starts at 8:30 a.m.  Agenda and support materials are available at: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Agenda_MeetingAgenda.asp. Topics for this meeting include, among others, the Algebra II math requirement for high school graduation, revised rules for private career colleges, the Washington Center for Nursing’s draft plan for nursing education and a presentation on Washington’s apprenticeship program.

LAST CALL FOR PERKINS PLAN COMMENTS-- No later than Jan. 31, mail comments to Terri Colbert, Workforce Training Board, PO Box 43105, Olympia, WA 98504; or email to tcolbert@wtb.wa.gov.  Draft plan is at:  http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Policy_Fed_Perkins.asp

HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES DEFINITION BILL -- Earlier this week, the House Higher Education Committee passed SHB 2608 which clarifies workforce and economic development terms.  An interagency work group produced this agency request bill to ensure consistent use of terms such as “cluster,” “sector” and “high demand.” The Workforce Board supported the substitute which added "apprenticeship" within the definition of “high employer demand program of study.”  The bill is now in House Rules committee. The Senate companion bill (SB 6264) will be heard on Jan. 28 by the Senate Higher Education Committee.

NEW VERSION OF HIGH SKILLS, HIGH WAGES REPORT BILL-- Rep. Fred Jarrett has introduced HB 3210 which calls on the Workforce Board to use a 10-year planning horizon for its comprehensive plan, instead of the current two-year horizon. The House Higher Education Committee is expected to hear the bill within the next week.  Jarrett’s bill also calls for updates to the plan every four years with the first report to be completed by Dec. 1, 2008.  A previous version of the bill, HB 2596, by Rep. Deb Wallace, would have established a five-year planning horizon for the Workforce Board. After receiving testimony on HB 2596 (at the Jan. 14 Higher Education Committee meeting), Rep. Jarrett introduced this new bill with Reps. Wallace, Chase, Kenney and Seaquist as co-sponsors.   

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET WOULD BOOST HEALTH WORKFORCE SURVEY -- The Governor's 2008 supplemental budget included $323,000 for the statewide health workforce survey. These funds will be used to increase survey response rates.  In 2006, the Legislature directed the Department of Health to conduct the survey, in collaboration with the Workforce Board. Early results from the first three professions surveyed indicate more follow up will improve response rates and ensure the usefulness of the data for workforce development areas. Advocated for by the Health Care Personnel Shortage Task Force, the survey is intended to improve our understanding of the composition and supply of our health workforce, and to better target resources where most needed.

January 18, 2008 Update

PERKINS COMMENT DEADLINE -- The Workforce Board staff has finished its five-stop hearing tour on the draft five-year plan designed to guide the spending of federal money provided through the Carl D. PerkinsCareer and Technical Education Act of 2006. However, it is not too late to provide feedback. You have until the end of January to get your comments to Terri Colbert, program manager, Workforce Training Board, PO Box 43105, Olympia, WA 98504; or by email to tcolbert@wtb.wa.gov.  For a copy of the draft plan:  http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Policy_Fed_Perkins.asp

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO TESTIFY --Eleni Papadakis, Workforce Board executive director, will testify on Monday before the Senate Higher Education Committee regarding SB 6261, “Requiring the workforce training and education coordinating board to research and evaluate work and learning programs for adult youth,” and SB 6295, “Creating workplace-based electronically distributed learning opportunities.”  Both bills are sponsored by Sen. Derek Kilmer. Eleni's handouts

GREEN COLLAR JOB BILLS --The green collar job and greenhouse gas emission bill described in our last e-mail has been introduced and will receive hearings next week. HB 2815 by Rep. Hans Dunshee will be heard before the House Ecology & Parks Committee, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1:30 p.m. SB 6516 (companion bill) by Sen. Craig Pridemore will be heard before the Senate Water, Energy & Telecommunications Committee, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 10 a.m.

CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) BILL--Major revisions to secondary CTE are addressed in legislation requested by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  SB 6377 sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs will be heard before the Senate Early Learning & K12 Committee, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 8 a.m. HB 2826 (companion bill) sponsored by Skip Priest gets heard before the House Education Committee, Friday, Jan. 25, 1:30 p.m.

January 14, 2008 Update

Climate Change and Green Jobs Bill -- Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced major climate change legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create clean energy jobs. Her legislation would direct the state Department of Ecology to design a regional carbon cap and trade proposal; require annual emissions reporting by all significant generators of greenhouse gases; and create new “green collar jobs” programs to provide training and apprenticeship opportunities.  The proposal directs the Workforce Boardto create pilot industry skill panels. The initiative would authorize a green-collar job training fund administered by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges(SBCTC).  A funding request would be made next session.  If approved by the Legislature, the Employment Security Department, in consultation with the Workforce Board, the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, and the Washington State University Extension Energy Program, willanalyze the current labor market and projected job growth in clean energy sectors, the current and projected skill requirements of clean energy industry employers, the wage and benefits ranges of jobs within clean energy sectors, and the education and training requirements of entry-level and incumbent workers within those sectors.  This research along with the research gathered by the industry skill panels will inform SBCTC’s grant award process for the development of new green sector education and training programs.   The House Ecology & Parks Committee is expected to discuss this proposal as part of its Climate Change work session on Friday, Jan. 18, 8 a.m.

Other workforce development legislative news:

House Bill 2596, sponsored by Rep. Deb Wallace, would extend the Workforce Board’s strategic plan time horizon to five years.  The bill was heard on, January 14, before the House Higher Education Committee.

Eleni Papadakis, Workforce Board executive director, served on a panel of speakers that will make brief presentations to the House Education Committee on “What should be the top three education priorities for the Legislature in 2008.” The meeting was Tuesday, January 15 from 1:30 - 3:30 in JLOB Hearing Room B. 

Senator Derek Kilmer has introduced legislation titled: AN ACT Relating to adult youth programs.  Senate Bill 6261 calls on the Workforce Board to “conduct research into and evaluate programs and training systems designed to provide comprehensive work and learning programs for adult youth between 18 and 24 years of age. The board shall be the primary entity responsible for this research and evaluation, but shall consult with the office of the superintendent of public instruction, the higher education coordinating board, and the state board for community and technical colleges.”

Madeleine Thompson, Workforce Board policy analyst, will serve on a panel on “Financial Aid and Child Care” presenting to the House Higher Education Committee, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 8 a.m. Ms. Thompson will speak to some of the findings of the Workforce Education Financial Aid and Student Access Retention report to the Legislature. 

For a complete schedule of legislative meetings addressing issues of importance to workforce development, visit the Workforce Board’s legislative update webpage: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Policy_State_Session2006.asp

For a complete schedule of legislative meetings addressing issues of importance to workforce development, visit the Workforce Board’s legislative update webpage: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/Policy_State_Session2006.asp

Earlier 2008 Legislative Updates

2007 Session Information

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