We’ve made significant progress this year at the Washington Business Alliance in our mission to unlock our state’s potential. In 2016 we focused on two major projects: 1) preserving career-connected education in our K-12 system and 2) advancing a balanced compromise to achieve a prosperous low carbon economy. We hit key milestones in these areas and have a clear plan for expanding our impact.
The inadequate supply of skilled workers is a major growth-limiting factor for businesses in this state. Washington industries will stagnate if they can’t access the necessary talent. That’s why we assembled a diverse coalition to advocate for career-connected learning opportunities in the K-12 system.
- Created and Led a Formal Partnership with 25 Organizations — Trade associations, unions, educational organizations, ethnic organizations and influential businesses united behind the same message to break through the noise in Olympia. This is the first time industry in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, maritime and automotive have all come together to agree on shared objectives to advocate for solutions to the State Legislature, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education.
- Convened Executives and Policymakers to Generate Solutions — We hosted four panel discussions this year as a forum where legislators met with industry leaders to discuss workforce shortages and the solutions needed so our education system can produce graduates ready to compete in today’s economy
- OSPI Debate — Organized a forum featuring the OSPI candidates focused on Career Tech Ed.
- Advocate for Legislative Action to Save CTE Funding — Now that our Career Tech Ed. Committee is unified behind a single set of policies, we’ll spend this next legislative session pushing the legislature to take action. We’ll be moving with the combined horsepower of 25 different organizations representing a diverse slice of our state’s social and economic interests. Look forward to events, communications, and energetic advocacy from the Business Alliance and our partners.
Our state needs a strong business voice to design effective policy that reduces carbon and grows the economy. We develop and advocate for novel solutions that work for business and the environment. We engage all sides, from environmental organizations to the fossil fuel industry.
- Clean Air Rule — Worked with some of the state’s largest industries, from heavy manufacturing to timber, facilitating input for comments regarding the Governor’s Clean Air Rule.
- I-732 in 2016 Legislature — Led discussion with major industries and key legislators to consider a legislative alternative to Initiative I-732. The resulting bill was significantly improved. The concepts we surfaced have had a lasting impact, and continue to influence the debate.
- Forestry and Carbon Sequestration — Produced widely-read articles about carbon sequestration through expanding usage of advanced wood products in building construction.
- Practical & Low Cost Carbon Reduction — Led the discussion on Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs) to create the information infrastructure for a Carbon Reduction Fund.
- “Future of Carbon Policy” — Following the General Election, we gathered business leaders from across the state’s diverse regions and industries to discuss the future of carbon policy. The program featured exclusive polling on how Washington voters view climate policy and a panel discussion of carbon policy featuring voices from the building industry, steel, and pulp & paper.
- Developed Modeling Software Which Forecasts the Effectiveness of Carbon Policy Scenarios
- Improve Quality of Legislation — Introduce and promote highly effective policy components, such as modeled economic and carbon reduction tools in the hands of legislators.
- Advocate for an Optimized Policy Entrepreneurial business principles by business leaders.
- Promote Effective Business Action — Gather and promote best practices among businesses.
- Build Cohesion — Facilitate common alignment.
Wrapped up year one of a 3-year federal grant: Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). The Business Alliance established a Steering Committee of businesses and trade associations interested in hiring, training, and retaining people with disabilities in King and Snohomish counties. For 2017, the committee will further identify the needs of businesses in these counties to determine accommodations that can be made to broaden employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
We Need You
Our work is only possible with the support of those who truly believe in the necessity of bipartisan problem-solving. It is difficult to raise funding around a message of moderation and compromisebut it’s vital work. We need members, event sponsors, and financial donors to continue our mission.
Please contribute to making this work happen.