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Initiative launched to improve students' career readiness - Nov. 18, 2013

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OLYMPIA – About 1,000 Washington high school students will get to test drive potential career opportunities under a pilot program unveiled today by the Employment Security Department and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Career Readiness for a Working Washington will match students with mentorships, internships or other work-based learning activities at local businesses in five Washington communities: Renton, Spokane, Vancouver, Wenatchee and Yelm.

In addition, 35 teachers in these communities will participate in business externships next summer to learn how the subjects they teach are applied in real-life work settings. Then, they’ll incorporate that experience into their curricula. 

“The health of our economy is closely tied to the quality of our workforce,” said Employment Security Commissioner Dale Peinecke. “We need to do more to help students see the connection between their book learning and their future careers, and help them make smart choices about the courses they take.”

State Superintendent Randy Dorn said the program will give students another educational option.

“I’ve said for many years that the more paths we give students for success, the more students will succeed,” he said. “Not all students learn best by sitting in a classroom. This program gives them another way to learn.”

In each community, the local workforce development council and the school district will work together to implement the program, recruit and organize employer involvement, and coordinate student participation. 

Employment Security is contributing $100,000 and OSPI is contributing $150,000 to support the five pilot projects. The two agencies hope to expand the Career Readiness program to other communities if the pilot projects are successful and funding is available.

To learn more about how the Career Readiness program will be deployed in each community, please contact these local coordinators. 

City 

Workforce development council contact 

 School district contact

 Renton

Dan Fey, chief operations officer
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County
206-448-0474, ext. 3031 

Renton School District
425-204-2338

 Spokane

Dawn Karber, chief operating officer
Spokane-Area Workforce Development Council
509-533-8471

Lisa White, CTE director
Spokane School District
509-354-7335

 Vancouver

Jeanne Bennett, executive director
Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council
360-567-1073

Susan Dixon, CTE director
Evergreen School District
360-604-4068

 Wenatchee

Susan Adams, SkillSource manager
North-Central Workforce Development Council
509-663-3091, ext. 255

Dennis Conger, CTE director
Wenatchee School District
509-662-8754

 Yelm

Cheryl Fambles, executive director
Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council
360-482-1701

Teri Pablo, CTE director
Yelm School District
360-458-7777


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Web links:
Employment Security Department
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Broadcast version
A thousand high school students in Washington will get to test drive potential career opportunities under a pilot program sponsored by the
Employment Security Department and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The program is called Career Readiness for a Working Washington. It will match students in five communities with mentorships, internships or other work-based learning activities at local businesses.  In addition, thirty-five teachers will participate in business externships next summer to learn how the subjects they teach are applied in work settings.

The program is being piloted in the Renton, Spokane, Wenatchee and Yelm school districts, as well as the Evergreen School District in Vancouver.

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