Opportunity Washington leaders use data to score the state on education, transportation and economic vitality

We’ve written here previously on our new Opportunity Score, a data-driven analysis of how Washington compares with other states on key metrics relating to our priorities for shared prosperity: Achieve, Connect and Employ. The Everett Herald Sunday ran an op-ed commentary by Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, and Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable explaining the importance of the scorecard.

They pointed out that the Opportunity Washington plan evolved from meetings with educators, small business owners and business leaders across the state.

From these conversations and our own research, three priorities rose to the forefront — things we must do well to ensure all Washingtonians can take advantage of great career and life opportunities. We categorized them as ‘Achieve,’ for education quality and outcomes; ‘Connect,’ for transportation and infrastructure reliability and efficiency; and ‘Employ,’ for economic vitality.

We called our report a roadmap for expanding opportunity and we laid out a plan for improving Washington’s performance in each category. It’s not enough, though, to draw a map. There must be a reliable way to determine where we are, where we’re headed, and measure progress.

To that end, we have calculated a new “opportunity score” for each state, measuring performance on Achieve (education), Connect (transportation) and Employ (economic vitality). The analysis relies on 16 variables, with data drawn from respected national sources.

So, where does Washington stand after the analysis? Stuck in the middle, ranking 24th among all states. Good enough? No. We should be top 10.

They conclude,

Becoming a top 10 state will take a sustained commitment with frequent benchmarking. We will update opportunity scores for Washington and all 50 states quarterly, allowing us to track progress and assess opportunities for improvement.

It’s great to be a world leader, as Washington is in many ways. We must take this opportunity, however, to create the conditions that will offer everyone in this region and every community in our state, the tools and capacity to prosper. Together, we can achieve that goal. Join our effort at Opportunitywa.org.

Please join us.