Did you know?

70% of Washington state high school students do not complete college (or earn any type of postsecondary credential).


There is an employment skills gap today in Washington’s highly technical economy, creating a key opportunity for graduates entering the workforce across all industry sectors. By aligning what high schools offer for coursework, and what business and industry needs from employees, we can start our 100,000 high school graduates each year out on a solid career path. Expanding opportunities to participate in high quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs will connect students’ core academics to technical skills related to individual career goals. We need highly qualified local talent to ll the 45,000 workforce positions open this year, which left unfilled, will have an adverse impact on our Washington economy.


Funding needs to be improved for CTE programs which create opportunities for students to learn the necessary technical skills and gain the experience they need, to secure a living wage job in our state. CTE programs are preparing our kids for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and need the resources to expand those opportunities to more students.

Why now?

There is much more to being “Career Ready” than one required course for graduation. Increasing CTE funding provides:

  • career pathway exploration and skill development
  • work-based learning (including youth apprenticeships)
  • increased certificate based learning (national and state industry-driven certificates)


  • Washington state students who participate in CTE programs graduate at 92% compared to the 78% average graduation rate across Washington state.

  • Aerospace, Agriculture, Automotive, Construction, Energy, Manufacturing, Maritime, Restaurant and Hospitality Industries are directly employing CTE students, because of their work experience and technical skills, while providing resources for further training and education.

The Ask

Increase funding to schools and skills centers for supplies, teacher training, industry partnerships, and equipment.

How much? $68M additional dollars will be the minimum needed to maintain status quo of today’s actual CTE programing costs. $187M matches the level articulated (never funded) in the ’11-’13 budget, to expand CTE opportunities for students. Increased capacity will address the skills gap that exists today by creating an educational system that’s better positioned to meet the workforce needs of business and industry in Washington State.