Friday Roundup: Skills gap, great community colleges, and school funding

There are always a few items we’ve read during a week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle, which turns out to be all about the schools.

Puget Sound Business Journal: Seattle-area business leaders cite skills shortage as biggest barrier

The survey found that 64 percent of survey respondents planned to hire this year, but 34 said the biggest obstacle to success was the skills shortage, followed by the uncertain economic outlook and increased regulatory compliance.

Fifty-eight percent called it “extremely difficult” to find employees with appropriate skills and education.

Seattle Times : Business as usual isn’t enough for students or our economy (op-ed by Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and Gene Sharratt, executive director of the Washington Student Achievement Council)

The vast majority of all job openings (77 percent) will require at least some education beyond high school, with 67 percent requiring at least a year or more of postsecondary education or training. Yet for adults ages 25 through 44, only 44 percent of the working population possessed at least an associate degree in 2013.

Q13 Fox: 9 Washington community colleges on list of 150 best

The colleges were picked by the nonprofit Aspen Institute, which will choose a grand prize winner in early 2017. The Aspen Prize comes with a $1 million reward.

Our news partners The Seattle Times report the nine Washington colleges are:

  • Pierce College-Fort Steliacoom
  • Renton Technical College
  • South Puget Sound Community College
  • Tacoma Community College
  • Everett Community College
  • Highline College
  • Olympic College (Bremerton)
  • Clark College (Vancouver)
  • Whatcom Community College

Seattle Times editorial: State must start working harder to find an education-funding fix

The current crop of lawmakers, nearly three weeks into a 60-day session, have rallied around the common cause of solving the state’s broken education-financing system … next year.

But this week, even this half-measure became the source of political brush fires.

The News Tribune: Lawmakers disagree about deadline for fixing school-funding problems

A few weeks ago, it looked as if state lawmakers would respond to a contempt order from the state Supreme Court by promising to fix school-funding problems next year.

Now, it’s unclear whether the Legislature even plans to do that.

Associated Press: Senate panel passes alternative plan for education funding

Saying the GOP has badly weakened a strategy to tackle the state Supreme Court’s education-funding order, Democratic legislators cried foul Thursday about an amended K-12 plan approved by a Senate committee…

Committee Chairman Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, said this action was just the next step in a very complicated process and he expected the Senate would continue to work with the House to find a compromise.

More later…