(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray toured the Pacific Fisherman Shipyard in Seattle with local workers and businesses owners and discussed her work making sure workers have the skills and training they need to fill local jobs. Attending the tour and discussion with Senator Murray was Marléna Sessions, CEO of Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, Kaelan Haynie, a former intern and now full-time employee, Jeffery Harris, a local worker, and Doug Dixon, General Manager, Pacific Fisherman Shipyard.
“I hear from so many business owners here in Seattle who want to hire, but who can’t find workers with the skills and training they need to fill those open positions,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This doesn’t make sense—we have workers who want to work, and we have businesses that want to hire. But we need to do a better job of bridging that skills gap—and that is what I am fighting so hard to do in the Senate.”
Murray discussed her Career Pathways legislation, which would help young people leaving high school get the skills and training they need to enter the workforce, as well as the Workforce Investment Act, which Senator Murray is currently working to reauthorize and reform, and is critical to retraining workers, including those who have recently been laid off.
According to a recent report released by the Washington State Employment Security Department, statewide job openings were up 31% last fall compared to a year earlier and there are an estimated 41,889 vacant positions. According to the same report, 46 percent of those jobs or an estimated 19,366 open jobs are located in the Seattle-King County area. However, often employers can’t find local workers with the skills needed to fill those jobs.