Friday, September 2, 2011

Making Labor Day extra special for Washington's workforce

While news from the Job Front may be a bit bleak across the country, our state's Employment Security Department is doing all it can to help employers find help, and help the unemployed make an employment connection.

Already this year, WorkSource has helped more than 4,000 job seekers navigate the complex hiring process at Boeing and other firms through special workshops in Skagit, Snohomish, King, Kitsap and Pierce counties.

In Snohomish County alone, the heart of Washington’s aerospace industry, 22 percent report getting hired after using the important skills they learned.

There is similar success for recently discharged veterans. In the Tri-Cities, WorkSource workshops taught by military veterans show fellow vets how to master lengthy and complicated civilian job applications. More than half of those receiving such services have been hired.

And new training partnerships between WorkSource, community colleges and private companies are helping other vets get jobs in software testing in Redmond and advanced composite manufacturing in Bremerton.

“Labor Day is a good time to reflect on the status of our work force and the effectiveness of our workforce development efforts,” said state Employment Security Director Paul Trause. “We may not be able to create jobs for businesses, but we can help employers and job seekers fill the vacancies that exist as quickly as possible.”

WorkSource is a statewide partnership of Employment Security, local workforce development councils, other state and local agencies, colleges and nonprofit organizations that work together to provide free employment and training services to job seekers and employers.

WorkSource also can help employers recruit and screen for qualified workers, apply for employment tax breaks and qualify for subsidized employee training. Learn more at:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Advisory group will help State Ocean Caucus

Do you know someone who might be interested in helping direct and guide ocean policy and management issues along Washington’s Pacific Coast?

If so, Ecology is seeking nominations for membership on an advisory group for ocean policy.

The group will advise the State Ocean Caucus – an interagency team made up of state agencies with a management role or expertise in ocean and coastal issues.

Ecology coordinates this team and is forming the advisory group on behalf of the State Ocean Caucus.

Looking for people to represent broad range of interests

Ecology is looking for people interested in and knowledgeable about ocean and coastal issues on Washington’s Pacific Coast – western Clallam and Jefferson counties, and Grays Harbor, Pacific, and Wahkiakum counties.

We need people to represent a wide array of coastal and ocean interests including:
  • Local citizens
  • Ports
  • Shipping
  • Energy
  • Tourism
  • Economic development
  • Shellfish aquaculture
  • Commercial fishing
  • Recreational fishing
  • Science and research
  • Education
  • Conservation
The four coastal Marine Resource Committees will each appoint a representative to serve on the advisory body.

The unpaid advisory group will meet about four times a year. Members will serve up to a three-year term and may be reappointed.

A special selection committee will review nominations and make appointment recommendations to Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant.

How to nominate a candidate

Ecology must receive all nominations by Tuesday, September 27, 2011.

Any group or individual can nominate a candidate to the advisory group. We also accept self-nominations and candidates don’t need to be affiliated with an organized group.

Nominations must include specific information – see our online directions for nominations. Nominations can be sent electronically or mailed to:

Jennifer Hennessey
Washington Department of Ecology
PO Box 40173
Olympia, WA 98504-7600

For more information, contact Jennifer at or call 360-407-6595.

To read this blog post in Spanish, please go here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reps. Hudgins and Hasegawa's District Office Open House

Reps. Zack Hudgins and Bob Hasegawa recently opened a new district office in the South Park neighborhood of the 11th District, and they invite you to join them as they host an Open House.

Here are the deets:

What: Open House and Sculpture Show
When: Thursday, September 1st 5-7pm
Where: Sparks Building, 8601 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108 (Across the street from the South Park Library)

This is a great opportunity for constituents to have a little face time with their local legislators, get to know them, ask questions, and share ideas.  

There will also be a fantastic sculpture show opening in their building that night. The art theme is largely focused on issues related to sea life and marine ecosystems, including oil spills and overfishing. It will feature the work of local sculptors Den Fandrich, John Hoge, Don Carver, Sean Nelsen, Rob Hruska and the late Jim L. Acord.

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Washington students’ success continues

The addition of increased math scores to a list of notable achievements by Washington students this year is a product of hard work and careful planning.

Today’s release of the spring 2011 state testing results, which includes the first math end-of-course exams (EOCs), shows that Washington students are passing the state’s new high school math learning standards at a higher rate than in previous years of traditional math testing. This year students were tested at the end of their respective math courses as opposed to waiting until the final two months before completing the school year.

In addition, math scores on the grades 3-8 Measurements of Student Progress increased in nearly every grade. Although there’s still plenty of work to do to, including increasing scores in reading and writing, Washington students continue to prove that they have the skills needed to succeed.

Please click here for more details on today’s release of the spring 2011 state testing results.

To read this blog post in Spanish, please go here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Utilizing Puget Sound's tides for power

In our continuing commitment to provide clean, renewable, and inexpensive sources of energy, Washington is once again the nation's epicenter for pioneering technological advances.

The US Department of Energy has teamed up with our own Snohomish PUD, providing them a $10 million grant to install two tidal energy turbines on the floor of Admiralty Inlet, just west of Whidbey Island. It's estimated the rapid tidal action there could generate more than 1 MW of electricity – enough to power about 700 homes.

This latest generation of tidal turbine is designed to run silently and have little effect on the local ecosystem.

“This funding bolsters our efforts to operate and evaluate tidal energy technology in the Puget Sound in order to assess its technical, economic, and environmental feasibility,” said PUD Board of Commissioners President Toni Olson. “We’re excited to be leading the way in the research of this innovative energy source – another tool to help us and the nation combat climate change and attain energy independence. We greatly appreciate the support of members of the Northwest Congressional delegation to help us secure this funding.”

Rep. Jay Inslee has been a strong advocate for tidal energy, as evidenced by his leadership in funding for marine hydrokinetic programs at DOE.

“Oceans hold the potential to become an unlimited supply of baseload renewable energy,” said Rep. Inslee. “Critical research and development is being done right now to harness this energy in the Puget Sound. Snohomish PUD is truly a pioneer in pursuing this innovative technology, and I congratulate them for winning this hard-earned award, which is a significant victory for Washington state and the future of renewable clean energy across the country.”

Voters in Washington overwhelmingly passed Initiative 937 in the Fall of 2006, which requires utilities to obtain a greater share of their energy supply from green, renewable sources, and reach a minimum of 15% of our supply by 2020.

Since then, the PUD has actively studied several sites in the Puget Sound, which, if developed, could produce enough energy for tens of thousands of homes. The utility launched its research effort in 2007, working with several technical partners, including the University of Washington, the Electric Power Research Institute, the National Renewable Energy Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Marine Sciences Laboratory.

For information about the PUD’s tidal energy research and development, visit the Snohomish PUD's website on tidal power.