Presents a framework for coordinating workforce and economic development around industry clusters in the State of Washington in order to provide state-funded support to such clusters.
"Based on Governor Gregoire’s direction and many discussions, Skills for the Next Washington presents a framework for coordinating workforce and economic development at the state and local levels focusing on a cluster-based approach. It does not attempt to describe comprehensively all the inter-related aspects of workforce and economic development or even all varieties of sector-based approaches. Sector strategies embody many approaches, of which a cluster-based approach is one” (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “Local leaders have been uncertain as to the state’s commitment to a cluster approach as state support has waxed and waned over the years. For state and local government to effectively coordinate workforce and economic development around clusters in Washington, certain steps should take place and be sustained: 1. Clusters should be identified. 2. Cluster partners should be brought together. 3. Programs and resources should be available to assist clusters. 4. State and regional workforce and economic plans should lay out how government will support clusters. 5. State and local government should implement programs and direct resources to assist clusters in a coordinated and strategic manner” (p.6). • This paper recommends that current state programs be amended to increase flexibility and efficiency in serving clusters (p.15). • Washington should “[c]odify common definitions for the terms ‘cluster,’ ‘sector,’ and ‘high demand,’” which are terms that are “frequently used inconsistently, creating confusion and poor communication” (p.15). • Washington should “request the Workforce Board, CTED, and the Economic Development Commission…to coordinate planning for workforce and economic development, especially around industry clusters” (p.15). • Washington should “[p]rovide funding for the CTED cluster grant program” (p.16). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)