WA Kids Not Prepped for State Jobs

College & Career Readiness | 11/14/2016

Deb Jaquith Marketing and Communications Director

Deborah serves as the marketing communications director for Stand for Children Washington.

In the next five years, Washington state will see dramatic job growth with over 740,000 new job openings anticipated. But our kids aren’t ready for many of the opportunities our economy is creating.

Today only 31% of Washington high school students go on to earn any type of postsecondary (after high school) credential, leaving our major employers forced to look outside our state (and sometimes outside the country) to fill these positions. This is one of the contributing factors of our current housing crisis in Seattle. There are huge gaps between employer needs and the skill level and education of our children. Our education system isn’t producing enough qualified candidates for the jobs being created.

The majority of the positions available will be filled by people who have certificates, two-year specialty degrees, or four-year degrees; BUT fewer than one third of Washington state students currently go on to earn the certifications that will qualify them for these great new career opportunities.

Washington state is rated the 14th largest economy in the country and 2nd in economic activity. Some outlets rank us even higher, but we are not preparing our children to take advantage of our growing economy.

Of the 740,000 estimated new jobs here is how they break down:

Career Jobs - these jobs require advanced skill, and more than 90% of workers that fill these jobs will have a college education or credentials/certificates.

Pathway Jobs - these are jobs that require some skills and offer the potential for a career. Nearly 2/3 of these jobs are filled by workers with a college education or credentials/certificates.

Entry-Level Jobs – these jobs will make up only 20 percent of the 740,000 jobs being created in our state, and as it stands Washington’s education system produces graduates most suited for these opportunities. These jobs offer little career potential, and they don’t require a post-secondary education.

Business leaders across the state have set a goal that by 2030, 70 percent of Washington high school students earn a postsecondary credential by age 26.

This goal is wholly attainable with help from private sector support, a strong commitment from our education system, and a Washington State legislature dedicated to ensuring this future is a reality.

This is why Stand works so tirelessly - with help from our members, parents, and legislature - to close these gaps and allow students to achieve prosperity. We owe it to our children to keep fighting for their futures.


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