Inslee will depart Nov. 6 for the first leg of his trip – a four-day study mission to Switzerland to learn more about the country’s highly-successful apprenticeship system. The Swiss model is considered to be the gold standard for apprenticeship and contributes to the country’s consistently low rate of youth unemployment. Approximately 45 delegates are participating in the study mission, representing some of Washington’s most innovative and successful businesses and philanthropic, academic and government organizations.
Inslee first announced the study mission at the launch of his Career Connect Washington initiative earlier this year. More than 740,000 job openings are expected in Washington state in the next five years and most will require some sort of postsecondary degree, certificate or credential. Inslee sees apprenticeships as an enormous opportunity to help high school students find a pathway to these good-paying jobs while also providing employers a flexible, well-trained workforce. Beyond the traditional apprenticeship programs many associate with construction trades, Washington state is home to a growing number of innovative programs such as the registered aerospace youth apprenticeship program in Tacoma and a tech apprenticeship program in Seattle. Inslee’s vision is to create a cohesive system that gives students opportunities to train for jobs in industries such as health care, advanced manufacturing and IT.
The study mission was developed with the support of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Washington STEM, and former United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Suzi LeVine and her husband, Eric LeVine. The delegation will hear from international experts, students and parents, and visit several companies and organizations to learn about their much sought-after apprenticeship programs.
Inslee will then travel to Bonn, Germany for COP 23, the annual United Nations climate change conference. Inslee, who earlier this year joined California Gov. Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in launching the U.S. Climate Alliance, is attending COP 23 at the invitation of Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, president of this year’s COP. Bainimarama extended the invitation to Alliance states in June. Inslee will attend meetings in Bonn from Nov. 11-14. The Alliance as well as the Pacific Coast Collaborative are hosting panel discussions, and the governor will be part of several events highlighting the importance of subnational leadership on climate and ocean acidification and states’ roles in fulfilling U.S. commitments to the Paris climate agreement.
He will then make a one-day trip to Italy’s Umbria region where he will meet with government and business leaders about opportunities in aerospace. His visit will include a meeting with President Catiuscia Marini and Perugia Mayor Andrea Romizi.