Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
University of Washington/U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Development Event
May 16, 2000

Bill, thanks for that kind introduction, and for that fabulous tour of BSQUARE. And I want to thank all of the members of this consortium -- this partnership -- for bringing technology and opportunities to our citizens.

Washington's economy is booming. Personal income growth is the highest it's ever been. We lead the nation in median family income growth. We lead the nation in average pay in the high tech industry. And we have the fastest employment growth rate in the nation in high tech industries.

And because of this fast and furious industry growth, we've had to step up the pace to make sure we have some fast and furious educational opportunity growth, so people get the skills they need to fill these high-paying jobs and get those skills without disrupting or denying their families.

Because, of course, we want our economy to continue to boom, but we also want to make sure Washingtonians have the first opportunity at these great new jobs. Because the whole point of economic prosperity is to increase all of our qualities of life. So we've dramatically increased our capacity to educate students in computer sciences. We also invested $12 million to expand information technology programs at community colleges and universities. So we can educate several thousand new students per year.

And today is another milestone on our mission to fill Washington jobs with Washingtonians. The King County Workforce Development Council, the Washington Software Alliance, University of Washington and Bellevue, Pierce and Edmonds Community Colleges secured a $1.5 million grant from the federal government to train our high-caliber Washington workers for the high-caliber jobs that are flooding our state.

The focus is on access and lifelong learning. People can take classes on-line or on campus in the evenings, and classes will be available throughout the state so our people won't be hindered by location, work schedules or family obligations. They will be able to educate in modules, which means they can upgrade their skills and achieve a Bachelor's degree at a speed that's conducive to their lifestyles.

We've got 7,000 job openings in the software industry alone. And we can predict 65,000 more new jobs over the next three years. And now we can rest assured those jobs will be filled with our workers.

I can't say it enough times. Washington jobs have to go to Washingtonians. To people who care about our communities because they live in our communities. Quality of life begins with a good job that pays well -- a job that our citizens can feel good about having and a paycheck they can feel good about taking home at the end of the week. A paycheck that will help them buy band uniforms, braces, flowers, a vacation -- the things that make our lives successful and rich.

So thank you all. Thank you for helping to make my dream -- my dream of Washington jobs going to Washingtonians -- a reality. Thank you for setting an example by partnering. And thank you on behalf of the thousands of families whose lives this partnership will improve. Thank you for helping to make Washington a better place to live, to work and to raise a family.

Thank you very much.
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