Seattle’s economy is booming, but not enough young people who grow up here are landing those high-paying jobs, according to Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Since running for mayor, Durkan has emphasized the importance of helping high school graduates get post-secondary education.
A recent report from an employers’ association called the Washington Roundtable said there will be 740,000 job openings in Washington state over the next five years. But the report said only 31 percent of Washington students are earning a post-secondary credential or degree, making it difficult for them to land the high-paying positions being generated in the region.
Durkan has proposed providing two years of free tuition at some public colleges for graduates of Seattle Public Schools.
“We want every Seattle public school kid to come to school ready because they’ve had good early learning, get what they need in K-12 and then have two years of college so when they come out, they will be ready for the best jobs,” Durkan said.
On Monday, she convened a roundtable of representatives from labor unions, employers, schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations to talk about workforce readiness.
According to the Washington Roundtable report, about one-third of the job openings projected in the next five years will be for positions that pay more than $60,000 a year. Included in that figure are jobs for computer programmers, electricians and registered nurses.