Home to a robust mix of employers and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, Washington ranks as a top-10 state for job growth and a top-five state for personal income growth per capita. The future continues to look bright with 740,000 job openings projected in our state by 2021.
However, a closer examination of economic performance reveals significant gaps in regional growth and prosperity. State policymakers have an opportunity in 2018 to lay a foundation for diversified and inclusive growth that benefits communities and individuals across all of Washington and make progress toward better preparing our students for the opportunities being created here.
In advance of the upcoming legislative session, we are pleased to release our 2018 Policy Agenda which outlines the Washington Roundtable’s policy priorities. These priorities focus on two overriding issues: Education and Economic Vitality.
The majority of job openings in our state that offer good salaries and opportunity for advancement will be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. Yet, less than one third of Washington’s students attain such a credential by age 26. Far too few of the young people growing up here are getting the education and training necessary to take advantage of the career opportunities being created here. We can and must do better.
- Pursue the highest leverage opportunities available to reach the following goal: By 2030, 70 percent of Washington high school students will go on to attain a postsecondary credential by age 26.
- Maintain the state’s commitment to rigorous learning standards, assessments, and high school graduation requirements
- In the process of implementing the K-12 education funding plan adopted in 2017, continue
to direct resources to the students most in need and drive improvements at low-performing
- Ensure that Washington’s youngest learners enter school ready to learn and excel.
The Washington state economy is thriving, but prosperity is distributed unevenly, and some communities are outright struggling. Lawmakers should take steps in 2018 to foster statewide economic growth, with specific emphasis on spreading opportunity and prosperity to Washington’s rural areas where recent growth has trailed the state average.
- Eliminate duplicative regulation and ease regulatory burdens, particularly in rural areas.
- Support policies that promote economic development and job growth, particularly in non-urban regions.
- Promote transportation infrastructure asset preservation and maintenance.
Read the full 2018 Policy Agenda here.