Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Clark County Skills Center
September 26, 2002

Good morning—thank you, Rick, for that kind introduction.

And, let’s all thank the students from the Culinary Arts program here at the Skills Center. The refreshments are delicious!

Creative public-private partnerships are key to developing our state’s future workforce and to addressing our current workforce shortages.

Shortages in the healthcare industry continue.

But educators, healthcare providers and community leaders all over the state are coming together to address these shortages.

They are forming partnerships to meet their local needs.

One strategy is to fill the “pipeline.”

We fill the pipeline by giving more high school students access to education and training that enables them to move into the workforce--or to further training at community and technical colleges.

Our schools, colleges, businesses and government agencies are all vital partners in these endeavors.

Together, we can develop opportunities that are great for students and great for our state.

Today we celebrate such an opportunity.

It is my pleasure to announce that our state will contribute $200,000 to expand and enhance the medical careers programs for high school students in the Evergreen School District and here at the Clark County Skills Center.

This investment was made possible by the efforts of many of you here today.

You came together to form a partnership for opportunity.

The partners include the Evergreen School District, the Clark County Skills Center, Educational Service District 112, Southwest Washington Medical Center, Clark College, the Workforce Development Council, the Columbia River Economic Development Council and your area legislators.

Did I miss anybody?!

A partnership this inclusive can only succeed.

I also want to thank Representative Bill Fromhold for his work on making this partnership happen.

These partners have devoted time, resources and matching funds to this investment in our future.

They’ve also devoted something much more precious—a commitment to future generations, and to opportunities for our children.

Specifically, this investment is in the health care needs of Southwest Washington.

It is an investment in young people who aspire to careers in medicine and health care. Evergreen School District will now be able to double its capacity in Medical Careers programs from 150 to 300 students each year.

The Skills Center will now be able to add an additional 25 students each year in its Nursing Programs.

This investment allows ESD 112 to bring even more students who have dropped out of high school back in.

Through this partnership, Southwest Medical Center will provide additional opportunities for clinical experiences for program students.

And students will leave the program with even more knowledge and credits that will transfer to medical education programs at Clark Community College.

We have the student demand for these programs.

We certainly have the need for skilled healthcare professionals. And now we will have the capacity to deliver the goods in Southwest Washington.

I’d like to personally thank each you for your commitment to this project.

Your efforts serve as a model of how we can strengthen and improve our communities, one community at a time.

And thanks to you, the already bright future of our state’s workforce just became a little brighter.

Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Access Washington