News Releases

Washington State Innovative Education Projects Included in Final Spending Bill

Dec 09 2009

Murray includes Vancouver-area project to prepare high school students for green careers; Expands Washington state financial literacy efforts

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that the funding she worked to secure for several community-supported education projects has been included in the final version of the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  The final version of the spending bill came out of a conference committee between the Senate and the House and is expected to pass both bodies shortly before being sent to the President for his signature.

Senator Murray, a senior member of the LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee, included several innovative education projects that will help Washington state students.

VANCOUVER: Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center

Senator Murray worked to include $100,000 for this project that will expand a popular, successful  summer school program that prepares high school students to move on to postsecondary schools and careers in emerging green jobs. The program allows students hands-on opportunities to explore subjects like alternative energy, habitat restorations, and environmental literacy. The courses will be taught by certified teachers at Columbia Springs, a 100 acre urban green space and environmental education center in Vancouver. The program partners with the Clark County Skills Center, the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, Interface Engineering, and other local green businesses.

“Southwest Washington is well suited to take the lead in the clean energy economy,” said Senator Murray. “But it’s going to take skilled workers to do it. The Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center will be a place to teach the skills that young people will need to pursue a career in green industries that are ready to take off.”

“The ground work needs to be laid today to better prepare students to become contributing members of our community,” said Gala Miller, Executive Director of Columbia Springs. “This project will help motivate and better prepare high school students to meet future workforce needs in the emerging green jobs arena.”

FINANCIAL LITERACY:  Washington Asset Building Coalition (WABC)

Senator Murray worked to include $100,000 for this project to expand and better coordinate financial education and counseling for low income residents across Washington state. WABC will use this funding to provide more financial education classes in up to 10 counties throughout the state. They will also train additional financial education providers in a proven financial literacy curriculum.

“This is going to grow our state’s network of financial education resources,” said Senator Murray. “More classes and more qualified financial education instructors will mean that we are providing the valuable tools our young people and adults need to avoid financial pitfalls. As we work to prevent another financial collapse, it is critical that we also focus on giving Washingtonians the skills to understand the fine print and avoid mounting debt.”

“These funds will come at critical time to expand financial education for low income people in our state,” said Cheryl Sesnon, Washington Asset Building Coalition Co-Chair.

Other Projects Senator Murray Included:

Evergreen State College (Olympia) - $325,000
To expand environmental and sustainability education opportunities to colleges and universities statewide

LOOKBOTHWAYS (Port Townsend) - $500,000
To create a curriculum to teach children and youth internet safety skills

Seattle Science Foundation (Seattle) - $150,000
To expand a hands-on medical science program for elementary school students

Deaf Blind Service Center (Seattle) - $200,000
To expand training programs and materials for Support Service Providers to deaf-blind individuals

Washington Information Network (Renton) - $100,000
To facilitate and build on collaborations with partner organizations and improve the quality of 2-1-1 referral services