Monday, September 5, 2011

NEWS LINKS | Sept. 5, 2011

SBCTC NEWS LINKS | Articles about – and of interest to – Washington state community and technical colleges




A Labor Day without enough labor to go around

This Labor Day isn’t much of an occasion for more than 300,000 jobless Washingtonians; when every day’s a holiday, no day’s a holiday. There’s no turnaround in sight: The state jobless rate, which had been edging downward for months, recently ticked upward again, to 9.3 percent.

… In this state, one strange statistic points to another remedy. While legions of Washingtonians are out of work, 60,000 jobs are going begging for lack of qualified applicants – an increase of 28,000 over the last two years.

The missing link in this disconnect is often education. A jobless construction worker or waiter may be hungry for work but lacking the qualifications needed to move into aerospace, nursing, software or other expanding fields. The answer is retraining, the specialty of community and technical colleges. They do a superb job of helping workers switch careers at low cost.  But the recession and the cash-strapped Legislature have wrought havoc with them, too. Since mid-2009, state funding for Washington’s 34 two-year schools has fallen from $750 million to $592 million a year. The colleges nevertheless took on an additional 14,000 students – but more budget cuts would inevitably squeeze off access to critical job-training programs. Unfilled jobs fetter the economy, unemployment torments families, while education helps fix both problems. That’s a connection to keep in mind on a Labor Day that feels a little sour to many Washingtonians.

The News Tribune, September 5, 2011



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