The Roundtable works to effect positive change on public policy issues that are most important to supporting state economic vitality and fostering opportunity for all Washingtonians. That work includes sharing news and analyzing policy developments affecting our state.

Help Wanted: Washington #3 in the nation for job opportunities for college grads

A new study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce pegs Washington as one of the three states with the most job openings for college graduates.  The study examines the geographic distribution of online job ads (estimating that between 60 to 70 percent of job openings are now advertising online) and finds that:

Across all occupations, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Washington state have the most favorable online college labor markets.

There are great opportunities in Washington and, increasingly, those opportunities are requiring education or training beyond high school.  In fact, by the end of this decade, an estimated 70 percent of jobs in Washington state will require postsecondary training.  But only 50 percent of Washington adults have such a credential today. (Check out the “Achieve” section of the Opportunity Washington roadmap for more detail.)

There is a persistent gap between the skills that job candidates have and the skills that Washington’s employers need. Just two years ago, a Boston Consulting Group study found 25,000 jobs had gone unfilled in our state because employers couldn’t find qualified candidates.  The number is expected to double to 50,000 by 2017.

Our state must do better.  As work on the state budget continues this month, lawmakers should prioritize higher education funding and position the state’s postsecondary system to support economic opportunity through better alignment with workforce needs and increased capacity in high-demand STEM programs.

For more on our take on the issue, check out our 2015 Policy Agenda or this Puget Sound Business Journal column from Roundtable President Steve Mullin.  Skip to the end:

Today’s students need more skills than ever before to compete for great opportunities, here and around the world.  A strong higher education system is the most powerful tool Washington has to ensure students get those much needed skills and to spread opportunity and shared prosperity.

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