Connect with us and share your thoughts on our blog!

Washington Community Colleges Raking in Federal Grants

Community Colleges in Washington are bringing in new federal dollars – to the tune of more than $12 million – to strengthen and expand workforce training programs in the state.

The majority of that money, $10 million, was won by an alliance of different community and technical colleges to fund the Washington Integrated Sector Employment program. The new endeavor will cross-train individuals in several emerging industries in the Pacific Northwest: advanced manufacturing, clean technology and construction. It will be offered at college across the state, including Seattle, Shoreline, Everett, Green River, Renton, Centralia, and Walla Walla.

The remaining $2.5 million was given to Clover Park Technical College to develop a workforce-oriented curriculum in advanced manufacturing and industrial technology, geared towards workers who have been out of the workplace for an extended period of time.

The grants were award under the competitive “Trade Adjustment and Assistance Community College and Career Training” initiative administered by the Department of Labor. The program, established by President Obama’s stimulus package in 2009, is in its fourth year and has given out almost $2 billion to community colleges all over the country. It is set to expire after this round of grant-giving.

Posted in The Advance | Tagged , | Comments Off

What you should know about consuming marijuana in Washington

 With the legalization of recreational marijuana in our state came a lot of questions, some of which can be answered in this recent Advance post comparing the legal marijuana systems in Washington and Colorado. But the study referenced in that post doesn’t include information on what the end user needs to know to be safe and within the margins of the law when consuming marijuana.

So the Washington State Liquor Control Board partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, the Coalition for Cannabis Standards & Ethics, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the Marijuana Business Association, the Committee for Adult Use Standards and Ethics of Marijuana, and the Northwest Producers, Processors & Retailers Association to come up with a handy little guide for adult consumers of marijuana in our state.

The brochure provides basic facts about the law and consumer safety. Some of the information may seem like common sense, like you know it’s not OK to get behind the wheel when you’ve had one too many drinks, so driving under the influence of marijuana is not OK either.

But did you know that marijuana concentrates are much stronger than your average joint and kick-in much quicker? Or that modern edible marijuana products may take up to two hours to take effect and once they do can severely impair your ability to do anything that requires your focused attention?

For more information on what you can and can’t do, and be safe and smart about your marijuana consumption following the rules, check out the nifty guide here.

Posted in The Advance | Tagged , | Comments Off

When’s the last time you visited the Capitol?

A new school year has begun, ushering in cooler weather, falling leaves, woodsmoke in the air, Friday night football games . . . and school field trips to the state Capitol in Olympia.  Those school kids who arrive in convoys of orange buses almost daily will take a guided tour of the Legislative Building, which is the formal name of the Capitol itself.  They’ll crowd into the governor’s office, they’ll gaze down from the galleries into the Senate and House chambers, and they’ll do a good-luck nose rub when they file past the massive bust of George Washington on the third floor.

But there’s plenty more to see, and early autumn, when the weather is still tolerable and before the legislative session makes parking a real adventure, is a great time to visit. With one of the nation’s most iconic and impressive Capitol buildings – at 287 feet high, just 12 inches shorter than the U.S. Capitol – the 29-acre Capitol campus is one of the state’s top tourist destinations. And it’s free.

The tour of the Legislative Building is a must, of course, and that’s available seven days a week. But don’t stop there. Stroll around those 29 acres and you’ll discover everything from a unique sunken garden to more than a dozen outdoor sculptures, statues and memorials.

A short walk east from the Capitol steps is the World War I Memorial, “Winged Victory” (pictured here), one of the oldest and most notable pieces of public art on campus.  “Winged Victory” is flanked by the POW-MIA Memorial and a granite obelisk devoted to Washington’s Medal of Honor recipients, and from there it’s just a few steps to the World War II Memorial, the Tivoli Fountain, and the state’s Vietnam War Memorial.

Perched at the northern boundary of the campus, overlooking Heritage Park and Capitol Lake, is the Law Enforcement Memorial, inscribed with the names of the nearly 300 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty since Washington’s territorial days.

But wait, there’s more.  Cross the footbridge spanning Capitol Boulevard and you’ll find the Korean War Memorial, and an assortment of sometimes whimsical sculptures scattered on lawns surrounding several state agency offices.

There are plenty of reasons to visit the Capitol campus in Olympia.  Some come to take part in public protests and demonstrations, to meet with their elected representatives, to testify before legislative committees, to watch the House or Senate floor action, or to attend Supreme Court sessions.  Those are all important reasons.  But sometimes, it’s just a nice place to visit because it’s a nice place to visit.  After all, it belongs to you.

Posted in The Advance | Tagged | Comments Off

Nourished kids are hungry for knowledge

It’s axiomatic that hungry children have trouble learning. But each morning in every one of our state’s 39 counties, many of Washington’s million students show up for class hungry. Their last good meal was the free or reduced-price breakfast or hot lunch they had at school yesterday.

The popularity of school-breakfast and lunch programs, of course, isn’t restricted to children of less-fortunate families. Certainly, advances in taste and presentation over the years have enhanced the regard for in-school cuisine from all quarters.

For those youngsters who do qualify, here are the federal free and reduced-price food school-programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture:

  • The School Lunch Program provides reduced-price lunches (40 cents). The state of Washington pays all lunch costs for public, K-3 students if they’re eligible for reduced-price meals.
  • The School Breakfast Program provides reduced-price breakfasts (30 cents). The state of Washington pays all breakfast costs for public, K-12 students if they’re eligible for reduced-price meals.
  • The Special Milk Program may provide free milk, depending on the school, for eligible students.

A recent announcement from the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) heralds the coming of even better food safety and quality for  thirty-nine schools. Grants will help these schools purchase kitchen-equipment, such as walk-in coolers, double ovens and salad bars. Eligibility for these grants was limited to schools with the highest number of students participating in programs for free- and reduced-price meals, as well as schools that hadn’t yet already received a kitchen-equipment grant.

For more details, check out these OSPI websites:

All across the country, according to Wikipedia, the School Lunch Program serves more than 30 million children every day. The program will celebrate its 70th birthday in two years.

Posted in The Advance | Tagged , | Comments Off

Oct.1 is Taste Washington Day

Taste Washington Day” will kick off Farm to School Month on October 1, and many kids in our state will get the chance to be Washivores as they enjoy school lunches made of fresh, locally grown and raised ingredients.

Created by the Legislature in 2008, the Farm-to-School Program is managed by the WA State Department of Agriculture, which in 2010 partnered with the Washington School Nutrition Association to sponsor the first Taste Washington Day. This will be the fourth year in which schools and farms team up to celebrate Washington-grown produce,  and teach kids about healthy eating habits by featuring locally-sourced meals in school cafeterias.

This state-wide event, proclaimed a couple of weeks ago by Governor Jay Inslee, is a great opportunity for students, teachers, and parents to consider where their food comes from, how it is produced and the benefits of a healthy diet.

Taste Washington Day is well-aligned with Gov. Inslee’s Healthiest Next Generation Initiative to improve children’s health in Washington state.

Click here for Taste Washington Day sample menus, and to find out if your kid’s school will be participating this year, please contact your school district.

Posted in The Advance | Tagged , | Comments Off