Gov. Inslee touts value of all jobs, innovation at Seattle Workforce workshop

Washington Governor Jay Inslee touted the nobility of all work, the need to develop talent, and the critical importance of innovation in his opening keynote at the Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative workshop in Seattle.

The Governor recalled an influential early job as a painter. “Several of the people I worked with had been apprentices in Sweden and Germany, and they were really proud of their work. The job was part of each of their identities, it was never just a paycheck. To this day, I believe that all work is noble work and we need to welcome people from all paths of the workforce.”

Gov. Inslee discussed how the state of Washington, during his years as Governor, has focused on three key elements to keep up with the increasing workforce demands of industry: talent, connectivity and innovation.

In the case of talent, the Governor noted how the state, since 2013, has increased total education spending by the largest dollar amount in state history on elements such as preschool, expanded all-day kindergarten and mentoring for teachers. And this year the Governor launched the Career Connect Washington initiative aimed at helping more students pursue good-paying jobs after high school through career-ready education such as apprenticeships and technical training.

The Seattle workshop on Nov. 1-2, which is exploring workforce development in the healthcare, advanced manufacturing and IT sectors, is part of the Chairman's Initiative of South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The initiative seeks to leverage the region’s best thinking to bridge the gap between prospective workers and employers in the West to create enhanced career opportunities for students, graduates and displaced workers. The sessions may be watched on WGA's Facebook page.

November 1

Welcome & Introductory Remarks: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: WGA Executive Director James D. Ogsbury introduced the Washington Governor.                       

Roundtable: Career-Connected Learning: An exploration of  how states are providing career-connected learning opportunities for students -- including job shadowing, internships, and technical training programs. Moderator: Bill Symonds, Director, Global Pathways Institute, Arizona State University. Panel: Alisha Benson, COO, Greater Spokane Incorporated; Mike Cartney, President, Lake Area Technical Institute; Caroline King, CEO, Washington STEM; Mark Lewis, STEM and CTE Policy Director, Oregon Chief Education Office. 

Roundtable: Innovation in Apprenticeships: The roundtable will highlight developments that expand apprenticeships to new sectors, skills and population segments, including a look at Washington programs such as Apprenti and the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee. Moderator: John Aultman, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Panel: Jennifer Carlson, Executive Director, Washington Technology Industry Association Workforce Institute & Apprenti; Matt Poischbeg, Vice President and General Manager, SEA-LECT Plastics Corporation; Lynn Strickland, Executive Director, Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee. 
Trevor Mackey, a West Valley High School Youth Apprentice at Cub Crafters and his mother, Susan Mackey, will also share their perspectives. 

Panel: Addressing Policy Issues Related to Workforce: An exploration of some current issues, discuss steps states are taking to be responsive to these needs, and provide examples of policies that are supportive of or complementary to overall workforce goals. Moderator: Paulette Avalos, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Panel: Cami Feek, Paid Family Medical Leave Director, Washington State Employment Security Department; Michael Schutzler, CEO, Washington Technology Industry Association; Liz Smith, Assistant Director, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Panel: A Model for Public-Private Partnership: An in-depth look at the genesis of the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, a public-private partnership that gives young people from rural or low-income backgrounds the opportunity to join the high-tech workforce. Moderator: Naria Santa Lucia, Executive Director, WSOS. Panel: Jane Broom, Senior Director, Microsoft Philanthropies; Senator David Frockt, Washington State Senate; Jane Park, WSOS Board Member and Co-Founder & CEO of Julep; Mahdi Ramadan, WSOS Scholar. Download the presentation slides. 

Roundtable III: Filling the Post-Secondary Credential Gap: A post-secondary credential is essential to find success and advance in the workforce. This roundtable will examine successful strategies for reengaging workers in education and training to increase their opportunity and meet the demands of the economy. Moderator: Perry England, Chair, Washington Workforce Board. Panel: Kristina Brown, Director of External Relations, Office of Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib; Rich Cummins, Chancellor, Western Governors University Washington; Juan Garcia, Global Leader for Career Advancement, Amazon; Meg Ryan, Past Director, Center of Excellence for Global Trade & Supply Chain Management.  

Keynote: Ryan Harkins on "Closing the Digital Divide: Expanding Opportunity in Rural America": The Director of State Affairs and Public Policy for Microsoft, will talk about expanding economic growth opportunities to the 23 million Americans living in rural communities without affordable broadband. Download the presentation slides.

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