Governor Jay Inslee today put forward a plan for revitalizing Washington's economy, creating jobs and ensuring we have workers with the knowledge and skills to fill those jobs.
"Washington families are struggling, and nearly 300,000 people in the state are looking for work," Inslee said. "They expect us to step up to the challenge of rebuilding our economy."
"For our state to compete in the global economy, we must create a Working Washington that sustains an innovative economic climate in every corner of the state," Inslee said. "I have confidence we can answer the challenge. A strong workforce has been our strength in the past and will be our path to the future."
The governor's plan includes five focus areas:
Educating a 21st Century Workforce
Improving the Business Climate and Expanding Our Workforce
Advancing Washington's Aerospace Leadership
Clean Energy, Climate Action and Plentiful Water
Health Care Reform: Healthy People, Healthy Economy
"We can and must make government a partner in job creation," Inslee said. "We will deploy targeted investments and incentives in sectors that promise real growth. We will expand access to health care because it's good for people and good for the economy. And we are going to do the right thing for our economy and for our future by stepping up to the challenge of climate change."
In announcing the Working Washington Agenda, Inslee also called for a comprehensive transportation plan that supports long-term economic vitality across the state. He said he will be working closely with lawmakers in the coming weeks to craft a comprehensive plan that includes roads, transit, bike routes and other modes of transportation to help free capacity for freight and commerce.
The governor announced his plan at a press conference this afternoon in Olympia. He was joined by legislators of both parties.
The press conference was opened by Ian Anderson, a recent graduate of Renton Technical College's Aerospace Assembly Mechanic program. Specialized training programs like the one Anderson completed would be expanded under the state's new jobs agenda.
"I want to be on the cutting edge of aviation technology, and it's actually closer than I imagined," Anderson said. "It's here - right here in Washington state. I'm excited that Governor Inslee is committed to making more programs like mine available to students in Washington state and that he is growing jobs so grads like me can find employment and build careers in our region."
Inslee's Working Washington Agenda includes nearly a dozen pieces of legislation, government reforms and new state investment priorities in the following areas:
Educating a 21st century workforce
Inslee proposes several initiatives to better prepare high school and college students for the dramatic increase in jobs that require skills in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. He also outlined strategies intended to reduce dropout rates and expand workplace-based training opportunities for students.
Improving the business climate and expanding our workforce
The multi-faceted strategy includes proposals for promoting job growth, encouraging innovation and modernizing the state's regulatory systems. For example, Inslee proposes a state Regulatory Innovation Center to coordinate efforts to reduce the time and cost of government interaction. Businesses will be offered incentives for hiring unemployed veterans. Re-engaging efforts to grow the state's fourth largest industry - tourism - will help maintain Washington's status as a world-class destination.
Advancing Washington's aerospace leadership
In addition to proposals for expanding and enhancing STEM education, Inslee calls for new investments in aerospace training programs across the state. He also laid out ideas for targeted investments in programs and facilities to help Washington compete for new aerospace business.
Clean energy, climate action and plentiful water
Recognizing that energy is the lifeblood of Washington's economy - and that clean energy is the way of the future - Inslee put forward his initial plans for ensuring the state remains at the forefront in clean energy innovation and addressing climate change. He proposes tapping state capital funds to develop clean energy solutions, supporting more biofuels production and making transportation investments that are good for the climate.
Health care reform: healthy people, healthy economy
Given the huge role that health care spending plays in Washington's economy, Inslee understands that a key part of any economic recovery will be successful implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. Fully embracing health care reform will not only improve people's health, it will generate savings for taxpayers and create thousands of jobs statewide.