Describes the opportunities and challenges Washington faces in furthering the state’s green economy and identifies how workforce development can best help the state achieve the benefits of a green economy.
“Washington has been at the forefront of [clean energy and energy efficiency] efforts historically, and the state can benefit by continuing to lead with policy, programs and other innovative approaches to achieve the goals of a green economy. Progress has been made to better align the various state and regional economic development plans and strategies intended to attain these goals, and to improve coordination between economic and workforce development. However, the plethora of economic development plans and strategies in use makes true alignment more challenging and underscores the need for even greater emphasis on this important component of economic development: A green economy requires a well-developed workforce and an innovative workforce education system to support it” (p. iii). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “Legislation calling for improved coordination between economic and workforce development has shown early evidence of better alignment and outcomes… Although this offers some advantages, a more uniform approach may enhance efforts to align state-level economic and workforce development” (p. iii). • “Balance economic and workforce development assets and priorities…Greater effort should be focused on assessing and highlighting the potential of our state’s human resources and workforce development system as central features of Washington’s economic development framework” (p. iii – p. iv). • “Continue ensuring that workforce development programs are demand-driven, competency-based and accessible: Achieving green economy goals will require anticipating the workforce education and training needs of industry partners and moving nimbly to fill them with aspiring student interns, apprentices, and qualified new hires, while also re-tooling existing workers to adapt to technology and skill changes” (p. iv). • “Continue to invest in workforce education and training infrastructure…, [i]nvest in research and development…[and e]valuate performance. Continue to examine how state policies, regulations and incentives are affecting green industries and new business startups. Examine how publicly funded projects are evolving and adapting to economic conditions” (p.v). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)