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Closing the Skills Gap: Collaboration and Innovation Leading to Change

skillsgap2Finding the job you want in the Seattle region — what’s in the toolbox for finding and getting that job.  How does your company find the employees it needs to prosper?

Multiple articles and studies in recent months have highlighted two key facts: 1) there are a lot of unfilled jobs in this region; and 2) many people are trying to land the right job for them.  The question is, how do we bring the two together?   On June 18th, Northeaster University will host a program which will examine the tools both companies and the people who want good jobs can leverage in order to move forward.

We are bringing together a seasoned panel of area experts representing various facets of this issue. Tech industry association leader, Mike Monroe, Chief Operating Officer of the 800 member Washington Technology Industry Association and the Director of the state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, Eleni Papadakelis, along with two top state legislators and leading thinkers on Higher  Education, Rep. Larry Seaquist, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee and Rep. Chad Magendanz, will all join me in discussing specific tools which can be used by both employers and those seeking employment.  We will review and discuss why companies are reluctant to hire candidates unless the “fit” is just right.  We will lay out the range of tools available to citizens to get the specific training, whether at schools or on the job at companies, needed to land jobs.

We want to use the June 18 event to start a regional discussion which leads to specific actions that more effectively integrate the collaboration between businesses and higher education institutions.  This can take many forms, all of which will really help to close the Skills Gap.  Here at Northeastern, our Co-op Network, graduate level certificates and degree programs are certainly just a few of the tools available.  We are always trying to better understand the specific skills employers are looking for, and upgrade our program offerings to provide that training to our students.

I welcome your ideas and discussion on specific steps that in your view will help narrow our region’s Skills Gap, and thus help both companies and those seeking jobs.  We also welcome your joining us at the June 18 event.  You can find event details here.

About The Author

Tayloe Washburn, a prominent lawyer and civic leader in Seattle, is the founding dean and executive officer of the Seattle graduate campus. Tayloe, a former chair of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, is experienced in building partnerships between the public and private sectors. He has long advocated for expanded educational opportunities in Seattle to prepare the region’s workforce for the needs of the 21st century economy. A nationally recognized attorney, he holds a law degree from the University of Washington, as well as a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in history, both from Stanford University. In addition to serving on the Chamber board, Tayloe’s work in the Seattle area community includes serving on the chair of the boards of Seattle King County Economic Development Council, Schools First!, and the Washington Aerospace Partnership, having been appointed by Governor Chris Gregoire.

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