Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee

HB 1404

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Conducting a workforce study of employment opportunities in the agriculture, environment, and natural resources economic sectors intended to provide educators with the information needed for informing students about employment opportunities in the studied fields.

Sponsors: Representatives Tarleton, Wilcox, Sells, Chandler, Haler, Stambaugh, Van Werven, Santos and Stanford.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to conduct a workforce assessment to determine projected employment and hiring demands for skilled mid-level workers in the agriculture, natural resources, and environment sectors.

Hearing Date: 1/31/17

Staff: Trudes Tango (786-7384).


The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is required to develop a comprehensive and ongoing assessment process to analyze the need for additional degrees and programs. As part of the needs assessment, the WSAC examines projections of student, employer, and community demand for education and degrees on a regional and statewide basis. The WSAC also examines data from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (State Board) and the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTB) on the supply and demand for workforce education and certificates and associate degrees. The WSAC collaborates with the WTB and the State Board in producing an assessment report every two years, which includes the number of forecasted net job openings at each level of higher education and training.

The WTB provides planning, coordination, evaluation, monitoring, and policy analysis for the state training system as a whole, and advice to the Governor and the Legislature concerning the state training system.

Summary of Bill:

Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for the specific purpose, the WTB must conduct a workforce assessment for the agriculture, natural resources, and environment sectors. The purpose of the study is to assess the available data on current and projected employment and hiring demands for skilled mid-level workers in these sectors. The information is being collected to give educators better information as they develop programs for informing students about potential careers. The WTB may contract with a third party to conduct all or part of the study.

The study must, at a minimum, include an assessment of data from the Employment Security Department, the Workforce Development Councils, and the United State Census Bureau. The study must use a broad definition for mid-level skilled occupations. The study must identify five regions of the state based on the specific workforce characteristics of agriculture, natural resources, and environment employers. A sample of major employers from the sectors in each region must be identified and interviewed to assess employers' perspectives and expectations on employment in their industry.

The WTB must convene and consult with a steering committee to define the scope of mid-level skilled occupations considered, validate designation of specific regions to be analyzed, and assist in the design of information collection. The steering committee must include representatives of statewide business organizations.

The WTB must submit a report to the Legislature by October 15, 2018. The report must include:

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on 01/19/17.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.