September 13, 2006 -
VANCOUVER –Governor Chris Gregoire today declared Washington open for business as she outlined her vision for The Next Washington, her plan for maintaining and improving the state’s ability to compete in the global economy.
“This plan is about a vision for the future of our state and the steps we must take in order to get there. It’s about a Washington where economic expansion, environmental quality and cultural diversity work together to create global success,” said Governor Gregoire. “We can get there by investing in education and skills training, by supporting the foundations of the new economy and by making Washington a good place to do business.”
Governor Gregoire unveiled the plan during the 2006 Governor’s Economic and Workforce Development Conference in Vancouver. The 2006 conference is the largest Governor’s Economic Development conference ever held in Washington, with nearly 575 participants registered.
In developing her Next Washington plan, Governor Gregoire convened a Global Competitiveness Council to seek advice from business and community leaders about how to ensure Washington’s global leadership. She met with leaders from around the world on trade missions and traveled around the state on a listening tour, asking Washingtonians what should be the priorities of state government and how success is defined.
“We must work across party lines, across the state, across the country and around the world to learn what strategies are successful in preparing Washington to compete in the global economy,” said Governor Gregoire.
The Next Washington plan acknowledges the unique regional economic needs of the state and lays out specific initiatives to improve workers’ skills, connect research universities more directly with private sector and economic-development enterprises, boost telecommunications and energy infrastructure and make it easier to do business with government. The plan is based on three components:
Education and Skills
These are the most important investment that can be made in our economic future.
More Than Traditional Infrastructure
The foundation for economic success is not only a strategy for traditional infrastructure investment, but also more deliberate investments in energy, telecommunications, water and transportation.
Open for Business
Washington is a business friendly state and it can be even friendlier by making it easier and less expensive to operate a business here.
The conference in Vancouver is the first time economic and workforce development professionals have come together at a statewide event. Seven awards to outstanding projects and individuals in economic and workforce development across Washington were announced at the conference.
2006 Governor’s Awards for Best Practices in Workforce Development
Building Next Steps, a pilot project of community organizations and colleges in Seattle’s White Center neighborhood
The Institute for Enology & Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College
2006 Governor’s Awards for Best Practices in Economic Development
City of Redmond and Microsoft, development agreement
Port of Walla Walla, Railex project
2006 Governor’s Award for Open for Business
Vancouver’s Business-Friendly Approach
2006 Governor’s Economic Development Advocate of the Year
John Ladenburg, Pierce County Executive
2006 Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Mike Flynn, previous publisher, Puget Sound Business Journal
- Governor Gregoire's The Next Washington Economic Plan