Senator Patty Murray visited Spokane’s Triumph Composite Systems last week to lead a discussion on workforce development. Senator Murray spoke to a large group of aerospace companies, including members of the Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium (INWAC), which was co-founded by Greater Spokane Incorporated.
Murray indicated that we are not only battling a financial deficit, but we are also facing an infrastructure deficit and an education and skills training deficit. Let’s see how she is helping reduce that deficit.
Senator Murray is currently working on a bill called the Promoting Innovations to 21st Century Careers Act. This bill calls for “$912 million in federal grants to support state and regional partnerships in developing creative strategies to help high school age youth prepare for a full range of postsecondary options and 21st century careers.” If enacted, this would help students gain real world job experience and acquire the skills they need to start a career.
A state report showed there are currently more than 2,500 open positions available in Spokane, but businesses are having a difficult time finding workers with the right set of skills. This suggests that businesses need to do a better job of communicating their needs and educators need to do a better job of offering programs geared more toward those needs.
Senator Murray is also working to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, originally passed in 1998, to create public-private partnerships to get students the skills that businesses are looking for.
GSI’s 2011 Annual Meeting on Sept. 14 will feature Dr. Mark David Milliron of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who will talk about the importance of connecting the business and education communities to better position our region as a strong and competitive place to do business.
GSI’s Teach the Teachers program works to educate today’s teachers about various careers our region has to offer. The teachers then pass that information to their students. Today’s students will someday be our region’s CEOs, business owners, employers and more.
Senator Murray’s noble efforts to help ensure a strong future workforce can help grow our region’s businesses.