The study, conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, then found that only 31 percent of Washington students in the high school class of 2006 actually earned a postsecondary credential.
“We live here, we work here, our kids go to school here, and we want as many of our Washington kids to be able to qualify for the Washington jobs,” said Neil Strege, vice president of Washington Roundtable.
Of the 740,000 job openings:
-20 percent will be entry-level positions.
-45 percent will be median-salary pathway jobs, which can lead to higher-paying careers.
-35 percent will be career jobs, with higher starting salaries.
In each of those categories, here are the top 10 most in-demand jobs in the next five years:
“Those blue collar jobs now require higher skills than they have in the past. So if you want to become a welder, you have to get a credential to become a welder,” said Strege.
Washington Roundtable’s goal is to more than double the number of students obtaining postsecondary certification or degrees by 2030.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound are starting to make that change in their own way.
Louis Garcia, the CEO and president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, said this school year, they launched a program to mentor 35 freshmen at West Seattle High School.
He said some students, especially from low-income backgrounds, have significant barriers in getting to college, which sets them behind for earning high-paying jobs later.
“They may have pressures from home to come back, to help support the family, to help feed some siblings, and so there’s a pull to get away from college,” Garcia said.
The program promises to have one-on-one mentors for these 35 students through high school and two years after high school. They have weekly workshops and hold face-to-face meetings with mentors once a month.
They also take the students into corporate office settings, which can sometimes be the student’s first experience in that type of environment.
“What does it feel like? What are the sounds, the conversations?” Garcia said.