Legislative Advocacy

January 28, 2021

Announcement

LWTech's Associate Student Government team members will be meeting with the following legislators in early February:

  • February 2, 2021, 9:15 a.m. - Representative Springer 
  • February 2, 2021, 1 p.m. - Representative Cantwell
  • February 2, 2021, 2:45 p.m. - Senator Hasegawa
  • February 4, 2021, 9 a.m. - Representative Slatter

January 27, 2021

LWTech President Amy Morrison, along with other SBCTC college presidents met with Washington State Representative for the 48th Legislative District, Vandana Slatter.

January 26, 2021

Update sent via email

Priority #1

Operating Budget

We appreciate the Governor’s proposed $37 million investment in our budget priorities related to racial equity, technology and job training.

We are concerned, however, about the much higher $137 million in cuts that would come in the form of salary freezes and reductions and mandatory furloughs. Faculty and staff would take 24 furlough days over the biennium, which would directly impact students’ classroom experience and delay progress toward certificates and degrees.

Priority #2

Capital Budget

We are very grateful the Governor’s proposal to make significant capital investments in our colleges. I’m particularly pleased that the proposal includes construction funding for  our Center for Design. You can see the preliminary design for this exciting new instructional facility here: LWTech's Center for Design.

Priority #3

As we work together this session to prepare fellow Washingtonians for an equitable economic recovery, you can always find all of LWTech’s legislative information at our website.

Thank you for your continued support of Washington’s community and technical colleges.

Amy

January 12, 2021

LWTech President Amy Morrison testified in support of Governor Inslee's capital budget and construction funding for SBCTC and the LWTech.

2021 Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) Priorities

SBCTC/Systemwide Budget Requests

LWTech Specific Budget Requests

Quick Facts

Additional facts about Lake Washington Institute of Technology can be viewed in the 2021 Field Guide.

2021-23 Operating and Capital Budget Requests

As the only public institute of technology in Washington state, Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) provides students with the latest, in-demand skills relevant to today’s workplace. LWTech offers 10 applied bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 associate degrees and 80 professional certificates, in 41 areas of study, including STEM-focused programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

With our affordable and accessible programs, LWTech is primed to help people of every age and background survive this economic crisis and thrive on the other side, with better jobs than they had before. New high school graduates, laid-off workers, seasoned employees, future university students — all types of students count on LWTech to reinvent themselves. And as a technical college that serves Washingtonians hardest hit by this crisis, we are key to creating a stronger and more inclusive economy post-COVID.

On behalf of students like Monica Shoemaker, we urge the Legislature to avoid cutting higher education funding at a time when people and employers need it the most. With investments through the Workforce Education Investment Act, our college has moved forward with the Guided Pathways reform movement to increase completion rates, retained and hired more faculty to teach high-demand programs like nursing, and strengthened student advising and support services. Now is the time to maintain this positive momentum, not return to the devastating budget cuts of the past.

We are also asking the Legislature to make targeted investments in technology, worker training and retraining, and high-demand programs sought by students and employers.

 

Funding for the Center for Design

Photo of design studentsAt Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) our mission is “to prepare students for today’s careers and tomorrow’s opportunities.” We are engaged in creative partnerships with local businesses and polytechnic partners to enhance students’ educational experiences. Being situated at the region’s high-technology epicenter, close to major employers such as Microsoft and Google, has presented unique opportunities for LWTech. We are well-positioned to meet these opportunities as evidenced by the fact that graduates of LWTech’s design and technology programs (encompassing art, design, science, technology, and engineering fields) have found well-paying work with these and many other technology-focused companies.

Current facilities at LWTech do not support the needs of our students, business partners, and industry. We are at risk of lost relevance, unable to provide the quality and type of education necessary for students to reach their potential. A new building sized to accommodate growth and designed for creative and collaborative learning would address these shortfalls, and assure into the future the success of our growing design and technology programs.

Center for Design Preliminary FootprintCenter for Design First Floor DiagramCenter for Design Second Floor DiagramCenter for Design Location on Campus Map

We propose the Center for Design (CD), a 56,500 gross square foot facility dedicated to design and technology. We view these fields as essential drivers of 21st century innovation and prosperity. The CD will be an immersive STEAM facility, merging traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) training with Art instruction. To demonstrate the value we place in this concept and how it reinforces the highest potential of an institute of technology, we propose the Center for Design be located on grounds immediately north of our main campus entrance, in essence becoming our public face. The CD will prepare students for roles in a global economy in which the ability to innovate and engage in multidisciplinary collaboration is an expectation of “today’s careers and tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Download the full Center for Design Project Request Report

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Priorities

AFT Washington is a state federation of 39 locals that represent thousands of education workers, including Head Start educators, bus drivers, nutrition workers, paraeducators, faculty and staff at 19 community and technical colleges, and faculty at the regional 4-year public universities.

We have used a racial equity lens in crafting this 2021 Legislative Agenda and will apply it in assessing the impact of legislation we propose. We recognize the urgent need to dismantle systems of racism and the connections between economic and racial oppression.

PreK-12 Even though the state has a constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education, this hasn’t stopped districts from making bad decisions such as laying off the frontline workers who kept services running when school buildings were closed in the spring. All members of the education team—from bus drivers, nutrition workers, custodians, paraeducators, to teachers – are needed to deliver basic education to Washington’s students.

  • SEBB benefits have been critical to school employees during this pandemic. We will defend this program from any attempts at take-aways.
  • Emerging needs of schools to deliver services such as meals and technology during remote and hybrid schooling have made more urgent the need to update the K-12 transportation funding model. This funding model needs to both meet shifting transportation needs and preserve good union jobs in the process.
  • Required Paraeducator professional training was vetoed by Governor Inslee after the 2020 session. This has become an unfunded mandate that should be fully funded.
  • We support passing legislation, such as 2020 session bill SB 6047, to prohibit retaliation against school employees who report noncompliance with Individual Education Plans.

Community and Technical Colleges Washington has some of the nation’s best community and technical colleges. These colleges can play an important role in economic recovery. However, this system entered the pandemic underfunded. Cutting budgets now means thousands of fewer classes, program closures, inadequate student supports and layoffs. Following through on shared goals of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in higher education means saying no to budget cuts. We must invest in equity.

  • Students need qualified and available counselors to succeed. Only 40% of CTC students complete their programs. This can in part be tied to lack of counseling faculty: several CTCs have zero counselors on campus. History shows us that during economic downturns, enrollment at CTCs goes up as students return to college to receive more training. Now more than ever, we need sufficient numbers of faculty counselors at every CTC campus. The HB 1355 Counselor Taskforce report will inform legislation on minimum qualifications and faculty counselor-to-student ratio standards.
  • Students need educators with stability. Currently, 70% of CTC faculty are adjunct faculty who often struggle with financial, housing and healthcare insecurity. When their classes are cancelled, often just days before classes are set to begin, they are effectively laid off and lose healthcare. We know that teaching conditions are learning conditions. We will push legislation that sets system-wide standards for faculty, including for the ratio of full-time to part-time faculty and equal pay for equal work.
    • 78% of the faculty workforce in Adult Basic Ed – a set of programs for learning English and mastering basic skills needed for college courses—are adjunct faculty. We should not have our most vulnerable students being taught by a workforce paid poverty wages.
    • We want to attain a higher ed workforce that reflects the diversity of the student body. To do this, we must address the material factors of recruitment and retention of faculty, including hiring practices and the prevalence of contingent work.

Progressive Revenue We are in the middle of a global pandemic and a revenue crisis. At the same time so many people are suffering, corporate profits are rising at a record pace. Many leaders, organizations, community groups have stated that, to adequately address this crisis and take steps such that the next crisis is not yet another tragedy for communities of color and working people, we must invest in the public good now. Public education and public sector jobs are key parts of that public good that we need to invest in. The only way we can do this is through raising progressive revenue. There are many policies we support, including the following:

  • Remove the cap on big tech’s contributions to the Workforce Education Investment Account. This dedicated higher education account is funded by a B&O surcharge, in which global companies with more than $25 billion in revenues have their contributions capped at $9 million a year. Tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft are thriving during the pandemic. Removing this cap will provide increased revenues ($50 million/biennium) immediately as the tax structure is already in place.
  • Ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. We support an excise tax on employers that targets high earners (for example, $300,000+ in salary).
  • We also support taxing capital gains. A 9% tax on the sale of bonds and stocks, with exemptions for home sales, retirement accounts, and other similar assets that working people have, would generate $1 billion per year, and affect only a tiny fraction of Washington households. Healthcare for All We will support legislation which moves us toward universal healthcare for all. Many workers have lost their employer-provided healthcare in the COVID crisis, pointing to the need to disconnect healthcare from employment for the well-being of our communities.

Labor We will generally support bills identified in the United Labor Lobby, prioritizing those bills that address our members’ needs and concerns. One of the top concerns in the labor community is addressing the childcare crisis. The economic burdens of inadequate childcare funding from the state fall disproportionately on women and people of color. The state must invest more in childcare.

Social Justice We will support bills identified by our community partners, including the Communities for our Colleges Coalition, Racial Equity Team, Washington CAN, Washington Voting Rights Coalition, and others, that create equity and social justice for Washingtonians.

Download the 2021 AFT Washington Legislative Agenda

Associated Student Government (ASG) Priorities

Washington State Community & Technical College Student Association
2021 Legislative Session Agenda

The following issues were developed by CTC students. This agenda represents the issues Washington State Community & Technical College students have identified as their highest priorities for advocacy during the upcoming year.

Increase College Affordability and Financial Assistance For CTC Students

College affordability means more than paying for tuition. Additional factors such as textbook costs, housing, food, and utility bills impacts students’ ability to attend college. While grateful for this resource, the Workforce Education Investment Act is estimated to help 110,000 students, this legislation was passed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The new economic phenomenon brought on by the pandemic, jeopardizes resources available to students. A high school diploma is no longer enough to give a person equal access to quality employment without a post-secondary education. To meet this demand, every resident of Washington State should have an equitable opportunity to pursue higher education. This makes our workforce more competitive and strengthens our State’s economy. The legislature should expand access to in-state tuition programs and adopt an innovative model that supports academic completion for CTC students, specifically, the Workforce Education Investment Act.

Increase Resources for Mental Health Counseling

Anxiety, depression, or mental health other conditions complicates a student’s college experience. At some CTC colleges, over 50% of the cases served by the Disability Support Services office relate to mental health. Given the number of students with mental health issues, mental health counseling available at CTC’s is inadequate. CTC students need access to increased mental health services while enrolled. We ask for funding for mental health treatment so colleges can do more to serve students with mental health needs. We propose that the Legislature increase the spending for community and technical colleges to a rate of $6 million, allowing each college to have a counselor to student ratio of at least 1,250:1.

Expanding the Working Connections Child Care Program

Lack of access to childcare is a problem in our state and may contribute to inequity among students with children. COVID-19 has exacerbated this problem. Many students struggle to find affordable childcare options, creating a barrier to beginning or finishing their education. The Working Connections Child Care Program helps low-income families pay for childcare. We ask for an expansion of the Working Child Connection Care Program, to give more families access to affordable childcare, allowing students to further their education and careers.

Issue Exploration

In addition to the legislative issues noted above, CTC students identified the following seven (7) issues, in no particular order, that association members could explore at the local level. (1) supporting part- and full-time faculty: increasing funding to hire full-time faculty, (2) funding Strengthening CTC training: saving the grant, (3) Homelessness in higher education: Support 22SB 5800 for colleges to support homeless students, (4) Increase the WASFA assistance for students, (5) Washington College Grant: Increasing funding or keeping the same funding level, (6) developing tech equity for CTC students: increase funding to all CTC’s and (7) textbook affordability: Pass HB 1470.

Download the Washington State Community & Technical College Student Association 2021 Legislative Session Agenda

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Work

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work is woven into the foundation of what we do at LWTech to eliminate barriers to student success. We lead with equity as one of the fundamental pillars of our efforts in this space. Lake Washington Institute of Technology has embraced the ideal that we will strive together to dismantle systemic racism, address systemic injustices and create sustainable antiracist solutions, policies and opportunities that embrace people from all walks of life. Our commitment is to hold ourselves accountable and to value our collective diversity as a community.

Visit LWTech's Diversity webpages.


Why Advocacy is Important

Monica ShoemakerMeet Monica Shoemaker

After a work-related injury ended Monica Shoemaker’s career as a hairstylist, she found her true calling: working with people with addictions. In 2018, Monica was named to the Phi Theta Kappa All-Washington Academic Team, and was named a 2018 Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar. She graduated with her AAS in Social and Human Services in the spring of 2018, and a BAS in Behavioral Health in 2020. She’s now working for a nonprofit organization as a crisis intervention specialist.

Student and Staff Testimonials

LWTech student Cecillia Campons

I definitely would recommend LWTech and would encourage students to study hard and inform themselves as much as possible about the several academic opportunities the Institution offers. Our college takes the educational mission to heart, here you will find people that will support you and guide you on the path to your degree.

- Cicillia Campos

Computer Science DTA
International Student
ASG President