Washington STEM releases free, open-source data tool to maximize educational and economic opportunities for underrepresented students

For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 22, 2019

Contact:
Migee Han, Chief Development and Communications Officer
Washington STEM
206-769-7217
Migee@washingtonstem.org

SEATTLE, Wash.– Employers in Washington continue to import talent to fill Washington jobs. Of the 82,544 Washington students who entered ninth grade in 2014, only 34,171 are projected to earn a postsecondary credential. Economists forecast there will be 94,455 family-sustaining jobs available in Washington for those that have earned the needed credentials, according to state-wide non-profit, Washington STEM. 

Washington STEM has released a new tool, the Credential Opportunities by Region and Industry (CORI) Matrix, to meet the growing need for data-informed decision making around the credentials required to take advantage of regional economic opportunity in Washington. Currently, there are not enough career and credential pathways for Washington students to take advantage of economic opportunity in the state. CORI helps solve this problem.

In 2016, The Boston Consulting Group and Washington Roundtable released a report projecting an anticipated 740,000 job openings in Washington by 2021. However, there was no clear regionalized economic data that allowed government or postsecondary institutions in Washington to strengthen, or create, the necessary credential pathways to access those jobs. Washington employers want to hire Washington students, but students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, rural areas, and communities of color, often lack the systemic supports, like regional credential availability, needed to attain high-demand, family wage careers. 

CORI gives postsecondary institutions, state agencies, educators, career counselors, and students, the opportunity to create a regional analysis of available family-wage jobs, credentials needed for family-wage jobs, the availability of those credentials, and where students can enroll to pursue certificates, apprenticeships, two-year degrees, and four-year degrees that will lead to family-wage jobs.

“CORI has been a game changer for Renton Technical College. With this tool in our back pocket, we’ve been able to make smarter decisions around credential offerings, expand and add programs, and ensure that our college is preparing students to meet the demands of Washington’s regional economies,” said Kevin McCarthy, President, Renton Technical College.

This tool is already being used to implement Career Connect Washington, an education and workforce development initiative that was made possible by HB 2158, to identify the economic and educational needs of every region in Washington. Career and Technical Education teachers and leaders are using CORI to refresh their course offerings in high schools across the state to meet local job demand.

“CORI is a truly unique tool and it’s freely available to anyone who is looking for a smart approach to credential and career pathways. There are similar data sets and analyses that exist, but all of them require expensive licenses or contract fees to access. This tool provides the necessary data that Washington students need to chart their own path, in career and life,” said Jenée Myers Twitchell, PhD, Impact Director at Washington STEM.

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About Washington STEM
Washington STEM is a statewide, independent nonprofit organization headquartered in Seattle, WA. Founded on the principles of equity, partnership and sustainability, we seek smart, scalable solutions that lead to opportunities for youth of color, rural youth, youth growing up in poverty, and girls—those students most underserved and underrepresented in STEM fields. We believe that through a high-quality STEM education, Washington students will become the leaders, critical thinkers, and creators that will tackle the biggest challenges facing our state, nation, and the world. 

We partner with ten STEM Networks across the state bringing together educators, business leaders, STEM professionals, and community leaders together to connect students with STEM career opportunities in their communities. STEM Networks bring real-world STEM learning experiences to students where they live so every student has the skills that are increasing in demand in the state. 

For more information, go to www.washingtonstem.org.