Strengthen Career Tech Education

A diverse coalition is advocating for career and technical learning opportunities for middle and high school students in Washington State.

Too many kids in Washington are either dropping out or graduating unprepared to move into postsecondary training and careers. Outcomes are significantly different for those who participate in Career Tech learning opportunities. Participants graduate at higher rates than their general Ed peers, and launch off in trajectories that lead directly to workforce credentials, credits, and living wage careers.

The inadequate supply of skilled workers is a major growth-limiting factor for businesses in this state. Industries won’t grow if they can’t access the talent that they need. And companies won’t locate operations in Washington if they need to import talent from elsewhere.

Take Action

Washington State’s economy relies upon its education system to provide skilled labor for its core industries. We are working in collaboration to ensure:

  • Washington State provides ample, stable, accountable, and directed funding to Career & Technical Education programs, integrated within the 2017 Operating Budget for the K-12 Education funding package;
  • The state expands technically- and academically-rigorous, applied learning opportunities within all major industry clusters for students to connect with career pathways;
  • The state’s system contributes to a credentialed and technically-skilled workforce ready upon high school graduation for careers and postsecondary learning.


Businesses in Washington State consistently identify the same constraint as their greatest growth limiting factor: the lack of skilled labor.

Half of all STEM jobs are available to workers without a four-year college degree, and these jobs pay $53,000 on average.

For every one advanced degree, businesses need two undergraduate degrees, and seven technical credentials.

These technical credentials include associate degrees, certificates, and apprenticeships. By tending all paths, we will make our schools work for our kids, families, communities, and our employers.

A Tragedy for Kids and FAMILIES

10 years ago we were 32nd in the nation for graduating kids from high school. We’ve slid to 42nd today.

Only five states rank worse than Washington in terms of the gap between graduation rates for low-income students (65%) and rates for non-low income students (87%).

Our college bound students are not reliably prepared. A majority of students at 2-year colleges require remedial coursework. Our low income and ethnic students are being pushed out of the system. Ultimately, most students are denied the tools to achieve career readiness.

Students who complete Career Tech programs are significantly more likely to graduate high school.

Washington State: 2013-14 Academic Year

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Plan Washington