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November/December 2006 Newsletter

What's Inside

Workforce System Review - the Whats and Whys

WA Learns Covers Workforce Issues

Get on a WAVE!

A new Website on Sector Strategies Launched

Briefly

Upcoming Events

Workforce System Review –the Whats and Whys
The Workforce Board has completed and finalized its review of the state’s workforce development system. A document outlining the Board’s recommendations was approved and will go to Governor Chris Gregoire in December.

In its eight-month review of the system, the Workforce Board found that while Washington’s workforce system is one of the best in the country, improvements could be made to ensure it is even more sharply focused, customer driven, opportunistic, accountable, and fully integrated.

In brief, the Workforce Board recommended the following improvements:

  • Increase coordination with educational systems
  • Develop a new partnership with economic development
  • Align state and local goals for WorkSource
  • Strengthen the local workforce partnership
  • Expand performance accountability for integrated services
  • Expand services for at-risk youth
  • Increase postsecondary access and retention
  • Improve the statewide structure

A complete summary of the review and its recommendations will be available in early December. Those interested in specific research used to help the Board in developing its recommendations should go to http://www.wtb.wa.gov/BoardAug.asp. More details about the review are available from Bryan Wilson at 360.753.0891, bwilson@wtb.wa.gov.

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WA Learns Covers Workforce Issues
WA Learns, an 18-month effort led by Governor Chris Gregoire to address improvements in the state’s educational system, issued its final report earlier this month. (See http://www.washingtonlearns.wa.gov/FinalReport.pdf)

“The report” explained Bryan Wilson, Workforce Board Associate Director, “has several areas which are of interest to not only the Workforce Board, but also those involved in workforce development in general. Recommendations range from doing something about reducing the state’s number of dropouts to career pathways, preapprenticeship, Navigation 101, math requirements, high-demand fields, a new TRAIN program as well as a P-20 Council.”

Under the K-12 category, WA Learns suggests:

  • OSPI should administer a grant program for local school and community partnerships to address the dropout problem.
  • OSPI should assist school districts in developing new pathways for students interested in pursuing occupational interests along with their academic studies.
  • The WA Apprenticeship Council should share results of demonstration projects and connect those interested in developing additional Running Start for the Trades programs in high schools and colleges.
  • By June 2010, all middle and high schools should fully implement a program like Navigation 101.

In the Postsecondary Education and Training category, the committee recommended a scholarship program to pay the cost of college tuition for 7th grade students who qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch or who are from families in which neither parent completed a baccalaureate degree. Also, of interest to workforce professionals is the TRAIN program which would be a financial aid program to pay student costs for job-specific, credentialed, one-year training and apprenticeship programs in targeted sectors. It also suggests expanding the high-demand apprenticeship, certificate and degree programs currently available in the state, as well as I-BEST which blends adult basic education with occupational training.

Finally, WA Learns recommends that both the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges as well as the Workforce Board should be represented on the Higher Education Coordinating Board as well as the P-20 Council.

For more details on Workforce Board issues highlighted in the WA Learns report, contact Wes Pruitt at 360.586.1652, or wpruitt@wtb.wa.gov.

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Get on a WAVE!
The Workforce Board is to heavily promote its WAVE (Washington Award for Vocational Excellence) scholarship program this year.

“We want as many young people as possible to know about WAVE,” explained WAVE Program Manager Terri Colbert. “To do that we will not only have flyers for Career Counselor offices, but also a new poster which we think will prompt students to ask for more information about the program.

“Because we would like more student interaction with the program, we are sponsoring a WAVE poster competition. (See flyer included in application packages being sent out in early December.) This will allow any Washington State high school junior or senior, whether or not they are applying for the scholarship, to design a poster which will promote the WAVE program in 2008. The winning entry will be the official WAVE poster for next year and be distributed across the state at high schools, skill centers, and community and technical colleges.”

Now in its 24th year, the WAVE scholarship program honors the outstanding achievements of up to three students from each legislative district in vocational-technical education. Recipients receive a grant, based on availability of funds, which provides up to six quarters or four semesters of tuition and services/activities fees at community and technical colleges, regional research universities, accredited independent colleges, or licensed private vocational schools based in Washington State.

Applications must be submitted to the school's vocational administrator or WAVE coordinator by February 16 and to the Workforce Board no later than March 2. Notifications will be mailed to recipients on April 13, 2007.

For more information, contact Terri Colbert at 360.753.5680, tcolbert@wtb.wa.gov or Diane Donahoo at 360.753.0892, ddonahoo@wtb.wa.gov.

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A New Website on Sector Strategies Launched
The National Governors Association, Center for Best Practices in partnership with the National Network of Sector Partners and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce has launched a website (SectorStrategies.org).

Targeted at states who want to learn how to strengthen regional economies through sector strategies, the website allows visitors to

  • Find out what leading states are doing in sector strategy work and access resources
  • Download a primer for policymakers on state sector strategies. This primer examines workforce, economic and education policy and provides examples of best practices.
  • Participate in a series of Webinars that will help regions plan state sector strategies and showcase leading states’ successes. Public officials and representatives from industry, workers, educational institutions and sector initiatives are encouraged to attend. To find out more and to register go to: http://www.sectorstrategies.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=9&cntnt01returnid=15 .

For more information about sector strategies and what Washington is doing, contact Pam Lund, Workforce Board Associate Director, at 360.586.8678, or plund@wtb.wa.gov.

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Briefly
Comings
Dr. John Walstrum is the new president of Clover Park Technical College. Prior to joining the college, Walstrum was executive vice president for academic affairs at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Centralia College Nursing Graduates Score!
Congratulations to Centralia College! Their Registered Nursing program and LPN program students scored at the top of the state's overall nursing exams this year. The college’s Licensed Practical Nursing students had a 100 percent pass rate on license exams this year, well above the state average of 94 percent and the national average of just 90 percent. Those completing the Registered Nursing program in June scored a 95 percent pass rate on their professional license exams, ahead of the 92 percent in other colleges in Washington and the 88 percent national rate.

Board Meeting Schedule Finalized
The Workforce Board has announced its 2007 schedule of board meetings:
January 24 – Olympia
March 9 – Olympia
May 15 – TriCities
June 28 – South Seattle
August 2 & 3 – Board Retreat
September 25 – Bremerton
November 7 – TBD

For more details about Workforce Board meetings, contact Julie Anderson, Board secretary, at 360.753.5677 or janderson@wtb.wa.gov.

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Upcoming Events
January 10-12
are the dates for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s January conference which annually attracts more than 3,000 educators. More details at www.k12.wa.us/conferences/JanConf2007/default.aspx.

Save the Date! Microsoft is hosting a Washington State Workforce Development Summit on January 29. Targeted at workforce development professionals and practitioners from across the state, the summit will examine the challenges and opportunities in preparing workers for success in the global economy. The summit, endorsed by the Workforce Board and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, is part of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program which works to advance economic opportunity through IT skills training. Additional details and registration will be available in early December. For more information send e-mail to upinfo@microsoft.com.

In February (1-3), the American Association of Community Colleges is holding its annual Workforce Development Institute in San Diego, CA. Targeted at community college-based workforce service providers, the institute offers a variety of opportunities to discuss innovative workforce training techniques and applications, and this year will have even more business involvement. Details at www.aacc.nche.edu/Content/NavigationMenu/NewsandEvents/Workforce_Development_Institute/Workforce_Development_Institute.htm.

The theme for this year’s Workforce 2007 conference, sponsored by the Center for Learning Connection and its partners, is “Building Successful and Profitable Futures.” Guest speaker is David Lazear, author and trainer, on the practical application of multiple intelligences in business and education. More details about this event taking place on February 5- 6 at the DoubleTree in SeaTac at www.learningconnections.org.

On March 1-2, the Washington Association of Occupational Educators and Washington Tech Prep hold a joint conference at the Shilo Inn in Ocean Shores. The organization is accepting presentation proposals until December 1, 2006. More details from Tess Alviso, Washington Association for Career and Technical Education, at 360.786.9286, or http://www.wa-acte.org/about.html. And it will hold its annual Summer Conference August 12-15 in Yakima.

Plan ahead and save the dates November 13-15 for the Workforce Board’s leadership conference. Venue is still to be determined.

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