Seeking best-in-the-nation apprenticeship approaches in Switzerland

“We have to stop telling our kids that a four-year degree is the only way to start their paths to success.”   — Gov. Jay Inslee Swiss businesses are creators, not just consumers of talent. That is why Director Bonlender and a high-level delegation of leaders accompanied Gov. Inslee on an immersive four-day study mission to learn about how Switzerland created a successful system in which about 70 percent of the country’s young people choose apprenticeships instead of traditional

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Rural development focus ramps up: 500+ jobs, 46 projects active

Helping to generate economic growth and good jobs in Washington’s rural and underserved communities remains the top priority for Commerce in 2018. Our efforts to focus business development in communities outside the largest metro areas in our state are paying off to the tune of more than 500 jobs and $1.6 billion in capital investment from business recruitments and expansions supported last year, including the Katerra wood products plant in Spokane

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Governor launches Maritime Innovation Council, leadership agenda

On Dec. 12, Governor Jay Inslee’s Maritime Innovation Advisory Council launched a year-long effort to develop a comprehensive strategy for leading the nation in sustainable, or “blue,” ocean industry technology and practices. Inslee charged the new council with creating and expanding America’s most sustainable ocean industry and technology cluster here by the year 2050. Read more

Fair Chance Employment levels playing field in Spokane

Christopher Poulos, the new executive director of the Washington Statewide Reentry Council, recently testified in favor of a Fair Chance Employment ordinance in Spokane. The ordinance passed by the Spokane City Council delays employer inquiry into an applicant’s criminal record until after an interview takes place, with some public safety exceptions. “This measure gives people who have paid their debt to society a better chance at obtaining gainful employment and successfully reintegrating

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Bridges Out of Poverty lead to self-sufficiency and success

Poverty affects all of us. However, the more we understand the dynamics of poverty, the greater the opportunity for us to create stronger communities where everyone can live well. Bridges Out of Poverty trainings and Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World workgroups are designed to do just that. Serving as a catalyst, the Department of Commerce started working with WorkFirst Local Planning Area Partnerships (LPAs) and others to deliver both

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30 small farms, food banks in Skagit County benefit from state grant

Washington’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program recently provided a $900,000 economic opportunity grant that will deliver flexible and affordable financial assistance to an estimated 30 eligible microenterprise farmers in Skagit County. The funding will help with purchasing on-farm infrastructure and equipment. This project not only promotes economic vitality in this rural community, but also provides fresh food to area food banks. Read more

Wenatchee project boosted by nearly $1 million state investment

An $858,409 loan and $113,776 grant from Commerce’s Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) to the city of Wenatchee for the McKittrick Street extension project will support a $2.4 million private partner investment and create an estimated 90 jobs. The CERB funds are matched by $243,296 in local resources. State funding enables the purchase of a right-of-way and partial demolition of a damaged warehouse to make way for Diamond Foundry, LLC to invest $2.4

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State personal income growth leads the nation

Latest U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data for the third quarter of 2017 shows our state’s personal income growth led the nation, increasing by 1 percent. The country as a whole performed at 0.7 percent. Leading the way for Washington was our information and communication technology sector, accounting for one-third of the income growth due to vesting of employee stocks. Even as robust performance continues to buoy our state’s overall economy, we remain

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Jan. 1 – Feb. 21: Skilled Worker Awareness Training Program

Approximately $70,000 is available to increase the state’s skilled workforce by raising awareness education and training programs. Highest priority for 2018 grant funding will be given to awarding two to three grants in the range of $20,000-35,000. Proposals for smaller grant awards ranging from $1,000-$20,000 will be considered. All proposals must have a $2 cash match for every $1 in grant funds awarded.