By Taite Pryor
For the third year in a row, WGU Washington was front and center during the Association of Washington Business’ Workforce Summit. That important event brought together policymakers and leaders from business and education to share best practices to attracting and retaining talented workers and building a healthy, productive employee culture. This year’s installment took place March 6 at the Hilton Bellevue.
WGU Washington’s Senior Public Relations Manager Jake Riddell moderated and emceed the event, guiding multiple panel discussions and small group activities. The specific topics encompassed mental and financial wellness, childcare and healthcare challenges, and legal considerations for workplace practices. Contributors from different industries – including manufacturing, education, and financial services – and employers across the state provided practical insight and expertise.
“There’s so many talented individuals working to keep Washington a great place to work and do business,” said Riddell. “To bring those folks together, share ideas and experiences, and learn from one another creates an event greater than the sum of its parts. To host that event and represent WGU Washington is an honor.”
To help address the statewide skills gap, lawmakers in Olympia created WGU Washington in 2011 to expand access to first-rate bachelors and master’s degree programs for – primarily – busy, midcareer adults. As the state’s only legislatively-endorsed online university, WGU Washington utilizes the most advanced, distance-learning technology to educate skilled professionals in high-demand fields.
Sharing that story is an important part of Riddell’s role as a communications professional at the private, nonprofit institution. Prior to taking leadership of the university’s public relations and marketing efforts, he spent nearly ten years as a broadcast journalist. Riddell is a member of the Association of Washington Business’ (AWB) Leadership Washington Class of 2017.
Formed in 1904, the AWB is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association and includes nearly 7,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. Its annual Workforce Summit provides a platform to explore solutions to many of the key challenges facing Washington’s workforce and employers.