Yesterday, Governor Jay Inslee announced a multifaceted $120 million jobs package for Washington.
The package would:
- Provide tax breaks for new companies in certain fields
- Create 500 new slots in aerospace-training programs
- Assemble a commission to ensure that the state’s colleges and universities are turning out students with math- and science-based skills relevant to the economy’s needs.
The commission identified as part of Inslee’s package is the STEM Education Innovation Alliance. The Alliance would be responsible for advising the Governor in the development of a vision, guidance, assistance and advice to support STEM initiatives across the education spectrum to increase learning opportunities and improve educational outcomes in STEM.
The Governor’s Office, in consultation with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, is also responsible for inviting representatives of STEM businesses, business and labor organizations with expertise in STEM fields, one or more nonprofit organizations with a mission to enhance STEM education from early learning through postsecondary education, school districts and institutions of higher education that have demonstrated leadership and innovation in STEM education, and STEM educators to participate in the alliance.
The primary focus of the Alliance’s work is to align and combine previous STEM education strategic plans into a single, cohesive, and comprehensive STEM framework for action and accountability. The framework must concentrate on a limited number of selected and specific measures that are meaningful indicators of progress in increasing STEM learning opportunities and in achieving the intended longer-term outcomes of such efforts. The framework must also use measures that are quantifiable and based on data that are regularly and reliably collected statewide.
The package is part of the ongoing efforts by the Governor to drive collaboration between institutions and businesses to prepare students and workers for today’s jobs and the jobs of the future.
Governor Inslee’s Working Washington Agenda has five major components.
- Educationg a 21st centry workforce. Expanding and enhancing STEM education. Preventing and reengaging high school dropouts. Increasing workplace-based training opportunities for students.
- Improving the business climate & expanding our workforce. Promoting job growth and encouraging innovation through targeted tax relief. Modernizing state regulatory systems.
- Advancing Washington’s aerospace leadership. New investments in aerospace education and training programs across the state. Helping Washington compete for new aerospace business.
- Clean energy, climate action and plentiful water. Tapping state capital funds to develop clean energy solutions. Supporting more biofuel production. Making transportation and other investments good for climate.
- Health care reform: healhty people, healthy economy. Fully embracing federal health care reform. Improving people’s health, saving taxpayer dollars and creating thousands of jobs.
The legislation to create the STEM Education Innovation Alliance will be heard next week in both chambers. On Wednesday evening in the House Education Committee and on Thursday evening in the Senate Early Learning & K12 Committee.