Opportunity Washington: Priorities for Shared Prosperity is a roadmap for expanding Washington’s culture of opportunity to individuals, families, employers, and communities in every corner of the state. It is organized around three guiding priorities: ACHIEVE (education quality and outcomes), CONNECT (transportation reliability and efficiency) and EMPLOY (economic vitality). Check out our research studies and Opportunity Scorecard to learn more.

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Education expands opportunity. By 2020, 70 percent of Washington jobs will require postsecondary education or training. Preparing our students for these opportunities requires high-quality education at every level.

Our Priorities

Provide a high-caliber education and workforce development system geared to the demands of the 21st century.

Expand access to postsecondary education that boosts career opportunity and supports economic growth.

Ensure all students graduate from high school career- and college-ready.

Drive interest and performance in STEM among K-12 students and increase access to STEM postsecondary programs.

Focus early learning assistance on children most at risk of entering kindergarten unprepared.

Washington’s Performance

ACHIEVE 50-State Ranking: 18  Score: 78

Our state again comes in 18th, although with a slightly higher Achieve score as compared to the most recent update. In 2017, the state improved its performance in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math. The high school graduation rate for the class of 2016 increased to 79.7 percent, from 78.2 percent for the class of 2015. Still, Washington ranks 42nd in the nation in this category. This metric, along with the four postsecondary metrics we track, will be essential to monitor as Washington works to increase postsecondary credential attainment among its students.

Did You Know?

Washington ranks 42nd for high school graduation rate.

79.7% of Washington’s Class of 2016 graduated from high school in four years, ranking our state 42nd among all states – far from our top 10 goal.

Data: U.S. Department of Education

39% of Washington’s 4th graders scored proficient or better on the nation’s reading test.

Our state is tied for 22nd based on the average scale score for 4th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test in 2017.

Data: National Assessment of Educational Progress, “The Nation’s Report Card”

Everyone depends on the transportation system, from farmers and manufacturers to individuals and families. It’s time to invest in transportation to support a prosperous future.

Our Priorities

Provide an efficient, multimodal transportation system that links Washington’s communities to each other and the world.

Invest in the preservation and maintenance of Washington’s road and bridge networks and make improvements in key economic corridors.

Improve freight mobility and connections between roads, rail, and ports.

Provide options for regions to plan, prioritize, and fund local transportation needs.

Washington’s Performance

CONNECT 50-State Ranking: 39  Score: 43

Our state remains at 39th in the Connect rankings, improving its score by four points since the fall of 2017. Washington made gains based on highway conditions, an indicator that should improve with the further implementation of the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package. Washington is holding steady with 25.9 percent of bridges rated as structurally deficient. As of 2016, the average commute time in Washington is 27.8 minutes, the 20th longest statewide commute time in the country.

Did You Know?

Washington ranks 37th for road quality.

Just under half of state highways are rated poor or worse.

Data: Federal Highway Administration

Washington ranks 42nd for commute times.

The average statewide commute time is 27.8 minutes; likely longer in urban areas.

Data: American Community Survey

Expanding opportunities means encouraging and rewarding innovation and risk-taking and providing employers with a predictable and efficient regulatory and tax environment.

Our Priorities

Pursue policies that encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation.

Support policies that encourage investment, job growth, and economic opportunity.

Budget for long-term sustainability and prosperity.

Streamline the regulatory system to improve predictability and efficiency.

Washington’s Performance

EMPLOY 50-State Ranking: 21  Score: 84

Washington ranks 21st with an Employ score of 84. In the previous update, our state moved up nine spots, as a result of lower unemployment insurance taxes, higher levels of private sector R&D investment, and improved performance on both the Tax Climate Index and the Kauffman Growth Entrepreneurship Index.

Did You Know?

Washington has the 3rd highest business tax burden.

Businesses in our state pay $8,000 in state and local taxes per employee, far higher than the average state, where businesses pay $5,652 per employee. Only two states – North Dakota and New York – have a higher business tax burden.

Data: Council on State Taxation

Washington ranks 5th for private sector R&D investment.

Our state is a leader with private investment of $2,366per capita.

Data: National Science Foundation