I don't know about you, but in my family when I was a kid, the goal was always to go to college. Both of my parents were college educated. All of my siblings went to college, I was the youngest in my family, and I was expected to go to college as well. I went to what is now called Central Washington University. (Back then, it was State College.)  


Yes, I am in this photo. (Second row from the top, in the middle)

I was lucky, our family was in a financial situation where they could afford to send me to college. (That's not true for everyone.) My parents thought of it as sending me off to get a college education, I thought of it as occupational training. I entered school with a music scholarship, but my goal was to get into television. And I wound up gravitating towards radio and now here I am. 

If I had presented to my parents my actual plan, they would not have put up any money to send me to a trade school. They really wanted that college degree for me. After two years at Central I entered the workforce and started my career. 

cameraoperator shoots a cinema movie

So why am I telling you all this? 

Because skilled workers are needed across Washington state, and many can't afford training. Now they are getting help from Washington’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
according to spokesman.com,
“About $1.6 million in scholarships was awarded to 121 students by Washington’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board. The Washington students will receive up to $13,536 each in June. The scholarship, called the Washington Award for Vocational Excellence or WAVE Scholarship, was recently funded an additional $500,000 by Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington Legislature.” 

Construction workers lifting plyboard at construction site
Caiaimage/Trevor Adeline

This is great news, but it's not nearly enough. This particular program got its start in 1984, it was cut off in 2010 and was not re-instated until 2022.  

We need more skilled workers in more disciplines all across Washington state. 

$1.6 million in scholarships awarded to trades students in Washington | The Spokesman-Review 

Tech Training

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

LOOK: SE Minnesota High School Students Training To Be Firefighers

The Rohester Fire Department and Riverland Community College host a program to teach firefighting skills for local 11th and 12th graders annually. Plus, completing the course earns college credits for students and state certification is offered at the end of the program. It's a seven-day hands-on program.

Obviously, not as complete as the full training and education the Rochester FIrefighters experience, but a good strong taste. From a personal point of view, I have to say this is an amazing offering for students. A week of the program, knowledge gained, and even if you don't go on to be a firefighter, you'll have found strength in you you might not have known was there.

Gallery Credit: James Rabe


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