Education Partnerships

Ensure learners of all ages, including those from vulnerable populations and underserved communities, have multiple pathways to prepare for careers in the green economy by aligning resources within the educator, ecosystem recovery, and climate resilience communities of practice.
Expand collaborations between pre-kindergarten to post-secondary (preK-16) education networks and recovery and climate resilience communities at state and local levels to:

a) Increase participation by youth, families, teachers, and communities in Puget Sound recovery and climate resilience actions by creating an open knowledge network to facilitate collaborations and creation of meaningful experiences, paid internships, and mentorships;

b) Grow the workforce for the transition to a green economy by working with workforce development boards and Career Connect Washington to create pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training opportunities.

For students, these actions will provide more opportunities for meaningful environmental experiences, internships, and mentorships. Patterns of inequity will be addressed by offering these experiences first to those furthest from opportunity in rural and urban areas so that the future green workforce mirrors the demographic makeup of local communities. Collaborations among school communities and recovery communities of practice provide many co-benefits. For example, by engaging with a local school or community on a restoration project, planners can learn about social and ecological conditions to shape project design and get help to install and monitor long-term project success.

The pace of building restoration and climate adaptation projects is currently limited by a shortage of workers with the skills to plan, design, build, and maintain green infrastructure. Workforce training programs for the full range of emerging green jobs need to be created. Young people who are ready to enter the workforce and people in career transition need certificate and apprenticeship programs. To ensure that training is effective and sustainable, both educators and employers from each emerging field should be involved in program development and implementation. Training programs should be designed to prepare participants for family- wage careers. Many training programs currently available (for example, AmeriCorps) are often designed for those who can afford to work for little to no wage, excluding a significant portion of the population.

Coordinate planning and implementation across education and restoration partner networks. (ID #189)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Assemble a planning team that includes policy and technical representatives from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), other state agencies, tribal nations, education institutions, employers, labor unions and environmental organizations to develop and implement this strategy;
  • Ensure environmental justice principles are embedded in Partnership funded projects that include education, workforce development and career pathway components;
  • Develop targeted, strategic communications to recruit participants and gain the support of administrators at each level of hierarchy within organizations;
  • Encourage state agencies to incentivize staff in project and educator collaborations;
  • Identify targets and intermediate progress measures for actions that increase preK-16, apprenticeship, and ecosystem recovery and green infrastructure partner collaborations;
  • Recruit educator liaisons to participate in each of the Strategic Initiative Advisory Teams (SIAT) to identify projects that may be appropriate for youth participation;
  • Identify gaps in workforce development needs and develop intermediate progress measures to monitor workforce preparedness as demographics, technology and environmental needs change over time;
  • Include educational and workforce components in proposal evaluation criteria of some grant processes, such as those for the Science Panel, Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP), and Strategic Initiative Lead (SIL) solicitations.

Identify funding sources to support collaborations between ecosystem recovery partners and preK-16 educators. (ID #190)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Review and take actions on federal and state funding opportunities;
  • Support the open knowledge network through funding and by promoting its use by the restoration and climate resilience communities of practice;
  • Hire education coordinators to set up successful collaborations identified by partners in the open knowledge network;
  • Compensate student interns to ensure inclusion of students who are unable to afford to participate in unpaid internships and programs like Youth Conservation Corps and encourage partner organizations to do the same;
  • Prioritize funding for programs that serve youth and workers who want to obtain additional skills from communities most impacted by environmental disparities.

Expand meaningful education and leadership experiences, internships and mentorships in classroom settings and ‘earn while you learn’ apprenticeships and other paid training opportunities. (ID #191)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Provide students with equitable education, training, experience, and mentoring necessary to gain real- world work experience and become effective and long-term advocates for environmental, regulatory, and policy improvements within their communities, regions and state;
  • Provide educators with the opportunity, funding, and capacity necessary to enable equitable student and resident participation in local and meaningful community ecosystem monitoring and recovery projects and programs;
  • Identify incentives for municipalities to support design, project implementation, and maintenance of employment opportunities for this locally trained workforce.

Include representatives of youth organizations in regional planning forums to increase youth involvement in planning and implementing projects in local areas. (ID #192)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Create and support opportunities for secondary school level youth to participate in regional planning forums as a means of meeting graduation requirements individually or through organized local groups;
  • Build structures for youth to participate in planning forums;
  • Expand project opportunities for Youth Conservation Corps and resources to sustain involvement;
  • Include youth as one of the underrepresented groups in trainings and actions to address justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Develop clear information on career pathways and the curriculum, training, and program tools needed to grow an equitable green workforce with durable, family wage jobs. (ID #212)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Identify existing and needed career pathway components (such as courses, field experiences, internships, certifications, apprenticeships, etc.) and paid training opportunities aligned with the variety of natural resources, green infrastructure, restoration, and climate preparedness fields in Washington State;
  • Create and maintain an open knowledge network to share and find information about new and ongoing projects related to recovery or related fields. Include information about who is doing what, where, why, and how to contact them. Source data from existing databases such as Puget Sound Info, and from publicly funded project grantees. Link to databases that list ecosystem career training opportunities, apprenticeships and job listings;
  • Provide educators with the knowledge, skills, capacity, and funding to incorporate climate change and the transition to a clean economy into their standard school curriculum;
  • Collaborate with employers, educators, workforce development professionals to develop curriculum, training, or certifications needed to meet the needs of Puget Sound recovery-focused work and the transition to a green economy;
  • Collect and review programs and materials that have been successfully used in other locations and disseminate to schools and teachers;
  • Coordinate with state and federal agencies implementing workforce programs and assessments related to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Implementation Considerations

No related implementation considerations at this time. 

Ongoing Programs

No related ongoing programs at this time. 

What We're Measuring

Collaboration between recovery and climate resilience communities of practice (including scientists, policymakers, storytellers, engineers, project managers, businesses etc.) and the education community (including students, families, teachers, administrators, etc.) is active and ongoing. Increased understanding of the many dimensions and scales (for example, geographical, human, temporal and environmental) of the socio-ecological systems of the Salish Sea will increase student capacity to adapt to changing career opportunities.

Fostering educational collaborations across geographic and disciplinary divides will provide many additional experience- based learning opportunities and deepen students’ relationships with the environment. Collaborations will be increased by creation of an open knowledge network to help people share and find information about who is doing what type of work, where and why. The network will also link to ecosystem career training opportunities, apprenticeships, and employers. Increased collaborations will provide a myriad of benefits:

  1. More student and community resources will become available to assist restoration efforts
  2. Teachers will gain access to additional sources of ideas and skills so they can better prepare their students for emerging challenges
  3. Internship and mentorship opportunities will increase; and
  4. Youth from rural and urban communities who have been underserved, will gain new pathways leading to green careers jobs. Furthermore, increased participation of youth in planning and leadership forums will broaden perspectives and remind planners to consider the impacts of their decisions on future generations

Current Legislative Actions