Larry Seaquist, candidate for Pierce County Executive, today launched his plan to restart Pierce County’s economy. “We must take charge of our own future and begin to climb out of this deep hole,” said Seaquist. “We’ve been Seattle’s bedroom. We’re becoming Seattle’s Rust Belt. Unless we act boldly, we’ll be stuck for the next 10 years with high unemployment and a lackluster economy.”
Pierce County’s unemployment was unusually high even before the pandemic shutdown, with more than 51,000 out of work at the start of the summer – 17% higher than the statewide average and rising by the week. Just last week, 2,700 more filed for unemployment.
“We must change direction.” said Seaquist, “and we already have a roadmap to the new economy. As Chair of the House Higher Education Committee, I looked to our high tech business community for advice. I asked what they needed to stay at the leading edge of the world’s high competition economy. The answer: they need more skilled workers — way more than we are producing. Our education and training system should be enabling 70% of our youngsters to have an employable credential — a technical certification or a two-year degree — by age 25 . We’re not even close. Today barely more than 40% of our young adults are ready to work in the new economy. It’s much worse for older workers.”
Seaquist’s plan would convene the county’s fifteen K-12 school districts, five community colleges, four universities, and dozens of union and corporate training programs to provide residents a chance to gain new, employable skills – backed by a public commitment to raising Pierce County into the ranks of globally competitive economies.
“We must corral the virus so we can all get back to work,” said Seaquist. “But there is no ‘back’. Back is too many unemployed, too many in poverty. Our challenge is to build a better Pierce County by climbing the skills ladder and moving our whole county forward into the 21st Century economy. Businesses will come here from around the world hungry to hire.”