The Stand

High Skills, High Wages: Strategic plan for workforce development

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The following was distributed by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board:


OLYMPIA (Jan. 24, 2013) — In an effort to make it possible for all Washington residents to obtain living-wage careers through education and training, the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board has released a new state strategic plan that outlines 12 key objectives for the state to pursue over the course of the next 10 years.

WTECB-High-Skills-High-WagesAccording to High Skills, High Wages, the state needs to engage employers and workers in strengthening the multiple options or pathways for workers and students to advance, and ensure businesses have the skilled workers they need to compete in the global marketplace.

“With constrained public resources, we need to find ways to do more through public-private partnerships,” said Workforce Board chair Cindy Zehnder. “This means employers and labor working closely together with our education and training system to develop more options for young people to explore the world of work-both inside the classroom and in the workplace. By helping cultivate a talented pipeline of workers, Washington businesses are rewarded with greater innovation, increased productivity and a better bottom line.”

Central to this year’s plan is the importance of business and industry in identifying skill standards, shaping training programs and providing internship and job mentorship opportunities, along with investing in training and providing training space.

“Input from private employers is key to helping define the skills and abilities Washington workers need to succeed,'” said Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business and a Workforce Board member. “We encourage more employers to get involved at all levels, whether it’s speaking to kids in a classroom or providing on-the-job training and internships.”

“In today’s economy, to get ahead, workers need the chance to learn at their job and get short-term training that can be stacked together into an industry-recognized credential that helps them advance up the career ladder into higher-level, better paid positions,” said Jeff Johnson,  president of the Washington State Labor Council and a Workforce Board member. “Young people also require ongoing support as they navigate education and career choices that lead to self-sufficiency and satisfying work lives.”

High Skills, High Wages showcases the multiple pathways Washington workers can take in obtaining fulfilling, living-wage careers, while also offering insight on how to break down barriers and increase opportunities to strengthen those paths for all residents. Click here for more information about High Skills, High Wages.


The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board is a partnership of business, labor and government, dedicated to helping Washington residents obtain and succeed in family-wage jobs, while meeting employers’ needs for skilled workers.

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