New: 2018 Chair’s Report

Thirty-five years ago, in the Washington Roundtable’s inaugural year, then-chairman George H. Weyerhaeuser wrote, “Our purpose is to work to improve the future of the state of Washington.” Three and a half decades later, the Washington Roundtable is more focused than ever on making this state a better place to live, work, and do business.

Today, we release our 2018 Chair’s Report, our annual assessment of progress on state policy issues that our members believe matter most. In the report, Roundtable Chair Betsy Cowles writes about the two areas where we have focused most of our energy over the last year: promoting statewide economic growth and preparing Washington’s young people for success in their home state.

Four headlines from this year’s Chair’s Report:

  1. A postsecondary credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate—is essential to compete for most jobs available in our state. In 2015, we set a goal that, by the high school class of 2030, 70 percent of Washington high school students will go on to attain a postsecondary credential by age 26. It is estimated that only 40 percent of our high school students hit that benchmark today. Drastically increasing enrollment of high school graduates into postsecondary programs at two- and four-year institutions is essential to reaching the 70 percent goal. To that end, lawmakers this year increased funding for the State Need Grant, a financial aid program for low-income students, and expanded eligibility for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship and College Bound Scholarship programs.
  2. Lawmakers took multiple steps toward promoting diversified and inclusive growth. Lawmakers enacted legislation requiring adoption of rules for the use of mass timber products for new building construction, which has the potential to catalyze manufacturing and spur job creation in rural areas. Additionally, the Legislature created a program to provide scholarships to rural students pursuing postsecondary education in high-demand fields and invested in a statewide tourism marketing fund focused in part on rural, tourism-dependent counties.
  3. The McCleary ruling is now resolved. We applaud lawmakers for their tenacity and commitment to provide better educational supports for Washington students. This year, they made adjustments to the 2017 McCleary package, including providing full funding for school employees in 2018-19. The Supreme Court responded positively, and the legal phase is now complete. On to pursuing better outcomes for all kids.
  4. The state resolved key rural water rights issues. Lawmakers came to an agreement to address the water rights issues that arose from a 2016 Supreme Court ruling in the Hirst case. The state also committed to appropriating $300 million for water mitigation projects through 2033.

Click here to read the full report. Thank you, Chairman Cowles, for your leadership this year and your commitment to making Washington a better place to live, work, and do business.

Around The Table: McKinstry, PNNL, Starbucks

In ‘Around The Table,’ we highlight member news and share information on industry trends. This week, we shine the spotlight on McKinstry, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Starbucks.

McKinstry’s Hiring our Heroes Fellowship Program Featured in Contractor Magazine

In 2016, Seattle-based McKinstry welcomed its first Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program cohort. The initiative was launched in 2011 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to “assist military veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses in finding meaningful employment opportunities in a 21st century workforce.” Contractor Magazine recently covered the program at McKinstry and how the fellows have brought “tremendous value” to the organization. Read the full article here.

UW, PNNL to Host Energy Research Center Focusing on Bio-Inspired Design and Assembly

The United States Department of Energy has awarded an expected $10.75 million, four-year grant to the University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other partner institutions for a new interdisciplinary research center to define the enigmatic rules that govern how molecular-scale building blocks assemble into ordered structures — and give rise to complex hierarchical materials. The Center for the Science of Synthesis Across Scales, or CSSAS, will bring together researchers from biology, engineering and the physical sciences to uncover new insights into how molecular interactions control assembly and apply these principles toward creating new materials with novel and revolutionary properties for applications in energy technology. Learn more here.

Starbucks Joins Pearl Jam to Raise Funds for Unsheltered Families in King County

As Pearl Jam gets ready for their much-awaited Home Shows later this week, Starbucks is inviting customers to donate to the band’s Home Fund, which will support a range of organizations in King County, Washington working to move people to stable housing and keep people from becoming unsheltered in the first place. From July 31 through August 12, The Starbucks Foundation will match 2:1 every dollar customers donate to the Home Fund through the Starbucks® mobile app or online at up to $500,000, all to address the crisis of unsheltered families and children sleeping outside. With this donation, The Starbucks Foundation’s support over the last two years alone for unsheltered families in King County will total more than $3 million. Learn more here.