Jeremie Dufault

Rep. Jeremie Dufault, R-15

Local skills centers in Sunnyside and Yakima are at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring instructors to train students in high-demand fields like cybersecurity.

People proficient in a trade or with specific technical skills are sought after around the state and across the country and are able to earn big salaries. Administrators at our great, local technical schools have set up programs to train students to become nursing and medical assistants, veterinary technicians, and cybersecurity specialists. But then they struggle to find folks to lead these programs and teach the classes.

One solution to this challenge is to increase pay to instructors teaching in these specific fields. Working with administrators from YV-Tech, Career and Technical Education (CTE) advocates from across the state, and pro-CTE legislators from both political parties, I have introduced a bill that will do just that — House Bill 2663.

If we succeed, rural skills center will be better able to staff in-demand programs. And students throughout the Yakima Valley will have the opportunity to gain skills while still in high school that will directly lead to good paying jobs as soon as they graduate.

When we train our students in high-demand fields, our employers benefit as well by having a more qualified pool of local candidates from which to hire. Businesses looking to locate or expand in Central Washington have yet one more reason to move forward with their plans to grow right here in our beautiful, centrally located Valley.

We need to do more to train our students for the jobs of today and the future. By encouraging technically skilled instructors to teach in Sunnyside and Yakima, we can grow our competitive workforce in the Yakima Valley and set our young people up for success.

Jeremie Dufault is a Republican from Selah. He represents the 15th Legislative District in the Washington State House of Representatives.

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