Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Seattle Community College High Tech Center Grand Opening
March 2, 2000

Thank you, Tom Malone. Seattle Community College and citizens of Washington…I am ready! We are all ready! Each year we have 53,000 new dislocated workers and they are all ready! We've got laid-off steelworkers and workers from Boeing and other companies, and they are all ready.

I recently signed into law a bill that allows us to financially support laid off workers for a year, while they are in school, retraining for the jobs of the future.

And it's centers like this one, springing up all over Washington, which will give our workers a place to retrain into the high-skill, high-wage jobs of our ever-changing economy.

Yes, our economy is changing and it's changing fast. And our biggest growing pain is our skills gap. So in this hand, we've got thousands and thousands of high-paying jobs opening up. And in this hand we've got thousands and thousands of highly-skilled workers in declining industries who need to retrain into the exciting jobs of the future. And with this new Technology Center here at Seattle Community College, we will be able to put those two hands together, and fill Washington jobs with Washingtonians!

Our two-year colleges are keeping our economy's heart pumping with a healthy beat. And I am committed to doing everything I can to help our community and technical colleges meet the workforce needs of today and tomorrow. And so are your legislators!

Last session, we were able to provide several million dollars to expand community college programs in high demand occupations like high tech. Fifteen million dollars came right here to this new High Tech Center!! And we were also able to develop new skills standards, where businesses helped the colleges design courses that teach specific things that businesses want their workers to know.

And this session I'm proposing to provide even more money for the development of even more high-tech programs in the two-year systems, and more skill standards. But none of the work we do in Olympia to ensure funding for two-year colleges matters, unless schools like North Seattle take advantage of these programs and build centers such as these, and build partnerships with businesses seeking more trained people. It's through these partnerships that the best work gets done, and this new High Tech Center is a prime example. So thank you, Dr. Peter Ku, for your commitment to spreading technology throughout Seattle Community Colleges.

Am I ready? I am ready. Dr. Noble….are you ready?
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