WR testified last Friday in support of SB 6296 before the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee. The bill sponsored by Senator Boehnke was drafted in response to the two action items identified in the Washington Retail Workforce Report published in December 2023.
The bill requires the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) to establish a retail workgroup consisting of relevant stakeholders to identify education opportunities and programs in support of the retail sector and to recommend up to four colleges for pilot programs for short-term credentials in support of the retail workforce by October 2025.
SBCTC and Ryan Reygers, a 13-year instructor for the Retail Management Certificate program at Clover Park Technical College, testified in support of the bill. Reygers testified to policymakers explaining that retail jobs are not just cashier and stocker positions. Retail jobs include financial forecasting, site selectors, logistics and numerous other jobs that market products. He also provided data showing strong correlation between the completion of short-term certificate programs and job promotions, many leading to higher education opportunities.
WR is pleased to support two bills in the 2024 session that promote its Retail Workforce Initiative; to make retail jobs visible and desirable. We have urged committee members to move SB 5958, which establishes a grant program for low-income students pursuing retail-related micro-credentials, and SB 6296 out of the committee this week.