Washington State House Democrats


Congrats to our grads 🎓🏫🍾

Dear friends and neighbors, 

School’s out for the summer! ☀️ I want to wish a big congratulations 🎉 to all our recent graduates during this exciting time.  

We know the future of Washington depends on supporting our students through effective workforce development. That’s why I am proud the Washington State Legislature focused this session on addressing key workforce shortages in behavioral health and nursing, in apprenticeships and trades, and in highly skilled emerging industries in a green economy.  

To meet future demands, we expanded the workforce pipeline, streamlined licensing and certification, and provided accessible educational opportunities, including: 

Expanding access to financial aid (HB 1232):
Removes the minimum grade point average requirement to qualify for admission to a community or technical college and allows more students to access financial aid, especially in historically underserved and underrepresented communities. 

Addressing student basic needs (HB 1559):
Creates a Benefit Navigator Program to connect students to assistance programs and establishing a pilot program providing meal vouchers so college students are having their basic needs met. Students need to focus on what matters – staying in school and succeeding. 

Modifying the Washington student loan program (HB 1823)
This bill directs the WA Student Achievement Council to implement low interest graduate student loans for the next 7 years for those workforce shortage areas that require a graduate degree.  

Expanding High School Graduation Pathway Options (HB 1308):
Graduation pathways provide students with options to graduate with a meaningful diploma tailored to their individual goals. It expands on previously passed legislation to add an additional graduation pathway which allows students to complete a performance-based learning exhibition using real world skills. 

Establishing regional apprenticeship programs (HB 1013):
This bill directs OSPI and the Educational Service Districts to establish the Regional Apprenticeship Preparation Pilot Program with five program sites statewide. This program will give high school students the opportunity to learn valuable skills that lead directly to well-paying jobs.

I’m also excited to share that the 2023-2025 Washington State Operating Budget ensures everyone has the support they need to get a degree or credential, whether you’re an individual with low income, the first in your family to go to college, or a parent returning to school, with the following investments: 

  • Community and Technical College fund split support at 100% – $85 million  
  • Health care workforce and training – $48 million  
  • Dual credit programs – $35 million  
  • Expanded Washington College Grant – $13 million  
  • Graduate student loan program – $90 million  
  • Post-secondary student basic needs – $8 million 

As always, reach out anytime to my Legislative Assistant Natalie Whitesel or email me. It’s an honor to serve you in Olympia.

Best wishes,

State Representative Liz Berry

36th Legislative District