Our 2020 Policy Agenda

As we set our sights for the new year, we are happy to share our 2020 Policy Agenda, urging lawmakers to:

  • Deliver a supplemental budget that is sustainable, maintains healthy reserves, limits spending growth, and is supported by tax policy that is predictable and supports economic growth for all.
  • Protect 2015 Connecting Washington investments dedicated to asset preservation
    and maintenance and improvements in key economic corridors. Further degradation of the
    state’s highway and bridge systems in response to funding cuts required by Initiative 976 will
    significantly compromise safe and efficient movement of people and goods and undermine
    economic growth.
  • Support policies that promote economic development and job growth, particularly in
    non-urban regions.
  • Drive progress toward the 70 percent credential attainment goal for Washington

Thank you to all Roundtable board members who contributed to the development of this agenda. We look forward to working together with state leaders to make Washington a better place to live, work, and do business. Click here to read our full 2020 Policy Agenda, and be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for updates throughout the legislative session.

NEW REPORT: Unlocking Washington’s Full Potential

Overall, Washington state is thriving. According to a new report from the Washington Roundtable and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it is a top-five state for per-capita income growth and ranks among the top 10 states for job growth. At current momentum, BCG estimates that our state will produce 1.4 million jobs over the next decade. However, the statewide data masks a complex regional narrative in which prosperity is spread unevenly, and communities are outright struggling.

The new report, Unlocking Washington’s Full Potential, takes an in-depth look at regional economic performance to better understand growth trends and what may be holding some regions back.

Key Findings: There is opportunity to maintain Washington’s top-five position for per-capita income growth and boost its position to become a top-five state for job growth by bridging the urban-rural divide and driving growth that is distributed more equitably statewide. To become a top-five state for job growth, Washington must create 250,000 jobs, in addition to those already projected, by 2027. The state can realize 120,000, or nearly half, of the additional jobs needed to reach the top-five goal by raising economic performance in regions outside the North I-5 Corridor up to the state’s average growth rate. To do that, key challenges in five areas must be addressed: human capital, infrastructure, innovation ecosystem, trade and investment, and regulation.

Framework for Growth: The report also puts forward a framework for fostering growth that is diversified (not concentrated in one industry) and inclusive (balanced across all regions and benefiting individuals in all). It includes actionable recommendations in each of the five focus areas and urges state and regional leaders to pursue new policies that will bridge the urban-rural divide and drive equitable economic growth.

Download the full report and connect with the Washington Roundtable on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

RELEASE: Washington Roundtable and The Boston Consulting Group Release “Washington Kids for Washington Jobs” Report


Key Findings: There will be 740,000 job openings in Washington in the next five years. Most will be filled by workers with postsecondary education or training. Less than a third of Washington students earn a postsecondary credential today.

SEATTLE – October 5, 2016 – There will be 740,000 job openings in Washington state over the next five years with state job growth that will nearly triple the national average, according to a new report from The Boston Consulting Group and the Washington Roundtable. The research finds that the majority of job openings in Washington will be filled by workers who have postsecondary education or training. However, less than a third of Washington students go on to attain a postsecondary credential today.

“There will be a significant number of job openings in Washington state in the next five years,” said Joel Janda, partner and managing director, The Boston Consulting Group. “Strong anchor industries, growth of new technologies and companies, and the effect of baby boomers retiring will combine to offer a large breadth of opportunities for mid and high skilled workers. It is imperative that we educate our students and fill the job openings with Washington kids versus having to import talent from other countries or states.”

According to the research:

  • There will be 740,000 job openings in Washington in the next five years. Of these jobs, 430,000 openings will be due to retirements and individuals leaving the workforce or state and 310,000 will be net new openings.
  • State job growth is expected to exceed the state’s historic average and be nearly be three times the projected national growth rate.
  • Thirty-five percent of projected job openings are classified as “career jobs.” These are higher skill, higher compensation jobs with a salary range of $60,000 to $100,000+. More than nine in 10 workers who fill these positions will have a postsecondary credential (73 percent) or some college (18 percent).
  • Forty-five percent of projected job openings are classified as “pathway jobs.” These are jobs that have salaries of $30,000 to $45,000 per year and offer a route to a career job. Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of pathway jobs will be filled by workers who have a postsecondary credential (34 percent) or some college experience (30 percent).
  • Twenty percent of projected job openings will be “entry-level.” These jobs provide important opportunities for workers to gain basic employment skills. They have a salary range of $20,000 to $30,000 and offer limited opportunities for upward mobility. Nearly half of these jobs will be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential (20 percent) or some college (24 percent).

“The jobs of the future increasingly will be filled by workers with postsecondary credentials, ranging from industry-specific certificates to two- and four-year degrees,” said Steve Mullin, Washington Roundtable President.

According to the research, only 31 percent of Washington students go on to earn a postsecondary credential today.

Mullin said, “The Washington Roundtable believes that preparing less than a third of our Washington students for the best jobs of the future isn’t good enough. We want more Washington kids prepared for success in their home state. That’s why we have endorsed a new goal for Washington: By 2030, 70 percent of Washington students will go on to earn a postsecondary credential by the age of 26. Reaching this goal will lead to better opportunities for Washington’s young people and better outcomes for our state.”

Impact of raising the postsecondary attainment rate for Washington kids from 31 percent to 70 percent

  • For each class of 81,000 students, Washington would create 31,000 new credentialed graduates who will each earn an extra $960,000 over their lifetime.
  • Over time, this would reduce unemployment by a third and poverty by almost half – all the while saving billions each year in state social spending.

“Cradle to career” approach
The Roundtable is urging a “cradle to career” approach to raising the postsecondary attainment rate. This includes action in four areas:

  • Improve school readiness, with an emphasis on low-income children and traditionally underserved student populations.
  • Improve the performance of our K-12 system to ensure more high school students graduate career- and college-ready, with an emphasis on raising achievement among at-risk students and low-performing schools and students.
  • Increase participation of Washington students in postsecondary education, with a focus on delivering degrees, certificates and other credentials in fields that will be in the highest demand.
  • Help students, beginning in elementary school, develop better awareness of the careers that will be available, inspiring them to think about their futures, the skills necessary for the jobs that interest them and the pathways to attaining those skills.

The full report along with a series of vignettes profiling job opportunities by category is available at waroundtable.com.

Report methodology
For its research analysis, BCG drew from publicly available data, primarily from the Washington State Employment Security Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as hiring forecasts provided by some Washington Roundtable member companies. The Washington Roundtable used data published by the Education Research & Data Center (ERDC) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to determine the postsecondary attainment rate of students who were enrolled in a Washington high school and expected to graduate with the class of 2006. The determination that 31 percent of Washington students attained a postsecondary credential is based on reported credential attainment of those students within seven years of the expected year of high school graduation.  Additional detail on methodology is available in the full report.

About the Washington Roundtable
Washington Roundtable is a non-profit, public policy organization composed of senior executives from Washington’s major employers.  Since 1983, the Roundtable has worked to create positive change on state policy issues that foster economic growth, generate jobs and improve quality of life for Washingtonians. Learn more at waroundtable.com.

About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. BCG partners with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. A customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries. Learn more at bcg.com.


RELEASE: New Regional Effort Aims to Establish Cascadia Innovation Corridor

British Columbia and Washington leaders come together to strengthen collaboration, create cross-border opportunity

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, September 20, 2016 – The creation of a new global hub for innovation and economic development is the focus of a conference being held today in Vancouver.

The Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference brings together business and government leaders to explore the potential for joint partnerships in education, transportation, university research, human capital and other areas. The conference is jointly hosted by the Business Council of British Columbia, the Washington Roundtable and Microsoft Corp.

Leaders on both sides of the border acknowledged the opportunity to create a single interconnected region that could be more competitive in today’s global economy and took immediate action today to deepen relationships and strengthen partnerships.

At the conference, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark signed a formal agreement that committed the two governments to work closely together to “enhance meaningful and results-driven innovation and collaboration.” The agreement outlines formal steps the two governments will take to collaborate in several key areas including trade, research, transportation and education.

In addition, the BC Cancer Agency, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance agreed to develop a new “master collaboration agreement” expanding patient access to care and clinical trials, advancing immunotherapy, enabling research collaboration, and providing better training opportunities for young scientists and researchers.

Seattle and Vancouver, the two cities at the heart of the new initiative, share a number of complementary strengths. These include a high quality of life, diverse communities, skilled and well-educated workforces, and strong economic and social ties to Asia. And yet, according to a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study released at the conference, the level of connectedness between the two cities remains remarkably low for two cities so close together. While only 120 miles or 190 kilometers apart they behave more like cities that are thousands of miles apart.

“In an increasingly competitive global market for talent and capital, harnessing our collective strengths and the power of innovation will drive greater productivity and business growth across the region,” said Greg D’Avignon, Business Council of British Columbia President and CEO. “We welcome leading thinkers from both sides of the border to British Columbia to discuss how improved collaboration will create greater prosperity for the benefit of all residents in B.C. and Washington State.”

According to the BCG study, major city-regions around the world are increasingly becoming centers for global competition, including city-regions like Singapore, San Francisco and London. Simultaneously, economic gains are increasingly going to regions with thriving innovation economies. When looking at the shared strengths and opportunities in Seattle and Vancouver’s innovation economies, the study found a unique opportunity to collaborate and raise the region’s profile as a new hub for innovation.

The region has a “high potential to cultivate an innovation corridor” that competes on an international scale, but only if regional leaders work together, the study said. This could be possible through sustained collaboration aided by an educated and skilled workforce, a vibrant network of research universities, and a dynamic policy environment.

The study involved interviews with dozens of private and public sector leaders and outlined a number of steps that could help connect the region, including (but not limited to):

  • Developing a Cascadia working group to drive progress — perhaps featuring an annual summit to share trends, best practices and continue the dialogue.
  • Driving greater collaboration between the region’s major research universities, perhaps drawing inspiration from the Research Triangle.
  • Fostering relationships both within startup communities and between investors and entrepreneurs to increase the availability of capital and other support.
  • Coordinating educational strategies and programs to prepare current and future workers to participate in the innovation economy.
  • Building a broader set of transportation solutions to reduce travel time, perhaps featuring seaplane service between South Lake Union and Coal Harbour in the near term or even drawing on autonomous solutions or high-speed rail in the long term.

Speakers and attendees include British Columbia Premier Christy Clark; Washington Governor Jay Inslee; Seattle Mayor Ed Murray; Deputy Mayor of Vancouver Heather Deal; Microsoft Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation Bill Gates; Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella; Microsoft President Brad Smith; TELUS Chief Corporate Officer and Executive Vice President Josh Blair; University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce; University of British Columbia President Santa Ono; and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center President Gary Gilliland; and BC Cancer Agency President Malcolm Moore, among other elected officials, regional CEOs and academic leaders.

“Our cities share many common attributes,” said Washington Roundtable President Steve Mullin. “Throughout history, Cascadia has been a region on the forefront of economic growth, whether trade, energy, aviation or technology. To stay competitive in a global economy, we need to think regionally about where we can align resources to make a greater impact on our society and economy.”

While acknowledging common attributes and strengths, each respective economy could also benefit with better connections and more formalized relationships in different sectors. For instance, Seattle has a strong innovation economy particularly with what many consider to be a leadership position in cloud computing, while Vancouver’s tech economy is growing through local companies like TELUS and the expanding footprint of U.S. companies like Microsoft.

Microsoft recently invested $90 million to open Microsoft Vancouver, a state-of-the-art development facility that will create innovative products for the global market and develop technology talent in British Columbia. The Centre will grow to more than 750 positions and have an estimated economic impact across B.C. of $180 million each year. In addition, Boeing also recently opened a laboratory in Vancouver to focus on data analytics, software development and professional consulting work. However, as the BCG report makes clear, there are significant opportunities to work much more closely together.

Microsoft’s rapidly expanding presence in Vancouver and its deep roots in Washington State helped it see firsthand the potential for deeper connections and stronger partnerships across the region.

“Working together, we can build a globally competitive 21st century innovation corridor that connects and enhances both regions. This is a unique opportunity that can create benefits for people throughout the region for generations to come,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

About the Business Council of British Columbia
Celebrating its 50th year as the preeminent business organization in the province, the Council has a strong history of providing relevant public policy research and advice on issues to enhance BC’s competitiveness. Since its inception the Council has been comprised of major employers from across all sectors in BC’s economy who have played meaningful roles in building British Columbia. Today, the Council is a source for insight on the BC and Canadian economies and how international trends and domestic policies are impacting our ability to compete in a global economy. Priority areas of focus include: environmental sustainability policies, economic reconciliation with First Nations, innovation, building a competitive tax and regulatory regime, supporting trade and market access, and the development and the attraction of a deep and diverse talent pool. Learn more at bcbc.com.

About Washington Roundtable
The Washington Roundtable is a nonprofit organization comprised of senior executives of major private sector employers in Washington state. Our members work together to effect positive change on public policy issues that they believe are most important to supporting state economic vitality and fostering opportunity for all Washingtonians. Learn more at waroundtable.com.

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.  Learn more at microsoft.com/en-us/about.