Workforce Development for a Strong Economy
We must create more housing located in high opportunity areas so workers can live in the cities in which they work. Ample housing statewide will enable workers to pay less of their income on housing costs and allow Washington business and government sectors to recruit competitive workers. Due to the high cost of housing many low wage workers are forced to live far from their jobs. This results in high transportation costs, time away from families, and increased carbon emissions.
The need for housing coincides with the need to create energy efficient homes and provides good paying jobs. We should prioritize building materials that are manufactured in Washington in accordance with strong environmental standards.
We need a large, professionalized, and skilled construction workforce, and no other training or education model has the same potential to build that workforce. To grow apprenticeship utilization across the state we can develop tax incentives, provide grants and procurement in the manufacturing and maintenance sectors.
We should retrofit the mission and programs of the state community and technical colleges to emphasize their role as a direct route to high-paying careers and trade apprenticeships. Technological change requires additional training for the next generation of the manufacturing workforce, but we should keep that training low-cost, practical, and responsive to the opportunities that are going to arise in the next decades. Our CTCs should reflect that. Washington should continue to support the manufacturing sector through targeted investments in clean energy and biotechnology.