Impact Reports

Farm to Fork Field Day Program

2016

Funding and Partners

Washington State University Extension programs have promoted healthy living through a variety of delivery methods for individuals and families for more than 100 years. Today, health issues continue to be significant to youth and families in our state. In Washington, 24% of youth ages 10-17 and 27% of adults are overweight or obese (Department of Health, 2013). There is a strong need for people to identify the health benefits of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and recognize the bigger picture of food systems. Putting food on the table is not only an experience that begins at the grocery store, and it is important to understand that it grows locally and each person can be involved in its production and/or finding more of it locally. This is especially critical in urban settings where people are farther removed from the production of their own food. Teaching and showing youth where their food comes from and how it gets to their table can influence their desire to increase their local selection of produce for a healthy diet.

Agricultural literacy is an important way to encourage healthy eating behaviors through education about food systems. Pairing this with hands-on activities involving growing food increases the chances youth will make changes in their food choices.

Washington State University Extension programs have promoted healthy living through a variety of delivery methods for individuals and families for more than 100 years. Today, health issues continue to be significant to youth and families in our state. In Washington, 24% of youth ages 10-17 and 27% of adults are overweight or obese (Department of Health, 2013). There is a strong need for people to identify the health benefits of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and recognize the bigger picture of food systems. Putting food on the table is not only an experience that begins at the grocery store. It is important to understand that it grows locally and each person can be involved in its production and/or finding more of it locally. This is especially critical in urban settings where people are farther removed from the production of their own food. Teaching and showing youth where their food comes from and how it gets to their table can influence their desire to increase their local selection of produce for a healthy diet.

Agricultural literacy is an important way to encourage healthy eating behaviors through education about food systems. Pairing this with hands-on activities involving growing food increases the chances youth will make changes in their food choices.

In an effort to connect youth to local food access and help them understand where their food comes from, 4-H and Food $ense have worked together to develop the WSU Clark County Extension’s Farm to Fork Field Days. This field trip experience gives youth the opportunity to visit the Heritage Farm and learn about local food access.

In 2014, the WSU Clark County Extension faculty, staff, and volunteers worked together to pilot the Farm to Fork Field Day program. The goal was to increase the awareness and knowledge of agriculture and the role it plays in the lives of young people in Clark County. Through Farm to Fork, area youth from schools and community groups came to the Heritage Farm to learn more about how their food grows and gets to their tables at home.

Since the pilot project, Farm to Fork has been promoted in school classrooms and community youth programs encouraging youth to participate in hands-on farm experiences. Groups participate in farm- and food-topic-related workshop stations. The topics of these stations include: planting, weeding, and harvesting produce, worm composting, water resources, bees and pollination, uses of animals and animal byproducts, food systems, and other farm-based activities. » More …

Pathways to Literacy

Youth, Family, and Community Engagement

2015

2014-2015 Program Partners and Support

Pathways to Literacy (PTL) is a part of Washington State University Extension in Franklin County and serves adults, youth, children, and community members of the Tri Cities and surrounding areas. The primary focus of PTL is to advance literacy and educational attainment for Spanish-speaking adults and their families. Through partnerships with the Mexican Consulate, Women Helping Women Foundation Tri Cities, and GESA Credit Union, the PTL program is addressing a significant need in the large Spanish-speaking community in the Tri Cities. Literacy impact on the family has a strong ripple effect on economic, health, and educational systems within the community served by the Pathways to Literacy program.

Literacy opens the door to social conventions that, for many, are the norm. The ability to read to your own children and grandchildren, assist with homework, get a library card, study and pass the written driver’s license exam, apply for employment, seek advancement in employment, leave a note for a family member, understand communication from childrens’ teachers and schools, keep track of spending, or simply sign your name, are everyday activities that are difficult and stressful for individuals who lack proficiency in their literacy skills.

In 2006, 5% of Washington’s total population, or approximately 268,853 people, were English language learners (http://wsipp.wa.gov). In Franklin County, 34% of the population was considered deficient in basic prose literacy skills, which includes proficiencies in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This group also includes those not tested due to language barriers. In comparison, 9% of Benton County and 24% of Yakima County were deficient in these skills (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2003).

Pathways to Literacy (PTL) students are provided one-on-one instruction to begin primary level association with letters and numbers. Students progress through several levels of reading, language, and grammar development with testing after each subject to measure progress. Once students meet proficiency goals at the primary (primaria) level, they progress to the secondary (secundaria) level with writing and advanced mathematics through Algebra II. Students are provided voluntary community tutors to support their learning. The tutors provide one-on-one help in areas that have become a challenge for our PTL students. This allows students to keep up with the class and to meet their personal progress goals. Once students complete the secondary level and are proficient in reading, writing, and math skills, they are encouraged to take the GED at their local community college.

PTL is an approved and certified Plaza Comunitaria program through a partnership with the Mexican Consulate. It provides literacy and educational advancement in Spanish for Spanish-speaking adult learners and their family members. It is through the Consulate’s MEVyT educational model for life and work (Modelo Educacion para la Vida y el Trabajor) that students can obtain educational certification through a Plaza Comunitaria such as Pathways to Literacy.

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Public Safety

2016

Practitioners in public safety agencies and fire, law, and emergency management fields need access to competent, responsive, and neutral resources to provide data, analysis, technical assistance, and training to support effective management practices, the implementation of sound public policy, and the delivery of high-quality services. WSU is seen as a natural source for such services, but there has not always been a convenient entry into the university to provide access to the many capacities represented at WSU. After the university closed the Western Regional Institute for Community Oriented Public Safety and the Washington State Institute for Community Oriented Policing on the Spokane campus, the Division of Governmental Studies & Services (DGSS) was seen as a natural fit to take on enhanced roles in meeting these needs.

Practitioners in public safety agencies and fire, law, and emergency management fields need access to competent, responsive, and neutral resources to provide data, analysis, technical assistance, and training to support effective management practices, the implementation of sound public policy, and the delivery of high-quality services. WSU is seen as a natural source for such services, but there has not always been a convenient entry into the university to access the many capacities represented at WSU. After the closure of the Western Regional Institute for Community Oriented Public Safety and the Washington State Institute for Community Oriented Policing, the Division of Governmental Studies & Services (DGSS) was seen as a natural fit to take on expanded roles in meeting these needs. In support of this demand DGSS operates the Washington State Institute for Criminal Justice in cooperation with the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

The DGSS Public Safety Program provides services for local, county, state, tribal, and federal government agencies, non-profits, and communities. This program addresses needs that impact public safety agency efficiency and effectiveness, the quality of administration, training and policy, and the relationships between government and citizens/residents through three primary service areas: research, technical assistance, and training. The training component of this program provides the opportunity for public safety agency employees and community representatives to acquire knowledge that will help them address the effective delivery of services, enhance trust, collaboration, and citizen engagement, improve relationships, and enhance public safety in the region. The technical assistance component of the program provides consultation services such as data analysis, planning support, organizational change intervention, facilitation, and program support. The research component provides qualitative, quantitative, multi-modal, and program evaluation services to bring validated data to bear on issues of performance, training, program delivery, and public policy decision making.

  • Through DGSS, WSU has supported the Law Enforcement Mountain Operations School since 2004. As a co-sponsor since 2011, and primary sponsor beginning in 2016, DGSS assists in conducting one-week and single-day training sessions on essential skills for law enforcement operations in wilderness environments.
  • DGSS assists in the development and implementation of quarterly State Agency Community Emergency Response Team trainings, serving on the state planning committee, and providing training and exercise evaluation for state employees in the Olympia area.

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Emergency Management

2016

When WSU’s Emergency Management Coordinator retired in 2011, the administration called upon the Division of Governmental Studies and Services (DGSS) to assist in managing emergency planning, preparedness, and management functions for the university. DGSS now operates on an “Internal Service Agreement” under the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration to provide emergency management and public safety services for WSU.

When WSU’s Emergency Management Coordinator retired in 2011, the administration called upon the Division of Governmental Studies and Services (DGSS) to assist in managing the full spectrum of emergency planning, preparedness, response, mitigation, recovery, and management functions for the university. DGSS now operates on an “Internal Service Agreement” under the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration to provide emergency management and public safety services for WSU.

The Emergency Management program provides a full range of emergency management services for the Pullman campus, Research & Extension Centers, and Extension, as well as other WSU offices and locations statewide, and coordinates with campus safety programs at the Vancouver, Spokane, and Tri-Cities campuses. The Office of Emergency Management operated by DGSS provides training, planning, administrative support, response, mitigation, and related services to establish a robust “all hazards” capacity for WSU. This includes direct management of WSU Emergency Response and Emergency Management planning, management of the WSUAlert emergency notification systems, management of emergency support team staffing, training, exercises and activation, and interaction with all levels of the university to support emergency management and public safety.

  • The WSU Emergency Support Structure has been restructured and updated so that emergency support team membership and functions now more closely reflect WSU’s institutional structure and are in line with the National incident Management System.
  • The EM program has developed a strong working partnership with Pullman and Whitman County emergency management, memorialized in 2013 through an MOU for joint activities. Included in these activities are: Development of a coordinated “Consolidated Emergency Management Plan” (C-CEMP) covering WSU, the City of Pullman, and Whitman County; providing coverage for Pullman and Whitman County under the WSU contract for emergency notification capacity (WSUAlert); and the pursuit of other joint planning and joint training and exercise activities.

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Revitalizing the Forest Products Manufacturing Industry

2015

The WSU Composite Materials and Engineering Center (CMEC) has been an integral part of the success of the forest products industry for over 65 years.  The research and development of innovative forest-related products and their use, has been the focus of many CMEC faculty and staff.  These research and outreach endeavors have helped propel the thriving forest products industry throughout the state, nation and world.

The need for employment and economic development in rural communities is a constant battle for many regions throughout Washington and the United States. This is especially true in timber-based regions where many communities have suffered from sawmill and other forest product mill closures due to a lagging economy and an increase in cheaper imported wood and wood composites. These economic influences deteriorate the entire forest industry supply chain, where logging, trucking, and mill jobs are significantly reduced or eliminated. The overall result is a dramatic deterioration of timber-based rural economies and forest health, where unmanaged forests can result in more damaging fires. To improve the economy of timber-based communities, new products and the revitalization of existing forest product markets need to be addressed.

To assist the growth of a forest-based economy, the outreach and research efforts of WSU’s Composite Materials and Engineering Center (CMEC) have focused on the wide variety of products that can be derived from wood and other natural fibers. CMEC works directly with the entire forest products supply chain to improve and assess the performance of many of their products through client-driven research, sponsored research projects, and outreach events such as workshops and symposiums that are related to the development of many forest-based products such as composites, fuel and energy, and timber structures. Some highlights of our recent efforts in various forest product industries are shown below:

  • Wood plastic composites (WPCs)
    • Demonstration WPCs installed in a variety of test plots that include:
      • Decking, fendering systems, and wave screens for U.S. Naval bases in Rhode Island and California, and the Naval Academy in Maryland;
    • Bridge decking for a rails-to-trails project in Idaho and the U.S. Forest Service in Montana;
    • WPC Info Portal that provides relevant information for the WPC supply chain; and
    • Development of American Society for Testing and Materials standards and International Code Council Acceptance Criterion related to WPCs.

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SR 530 Landslide Commission

2016

In July 2014 Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick appointed a joint commission to assess the response to the March 2014 SR 530 landslide that took the lives of 43 people in the Stillaguamish Valley. The SR 530 Landslide Commission was tasked with reviewing the emergency response to the slide and identifying lessons learned and policy recommendations to help make Washington safer and enhance the ability to respond to similar events.

In July 2014 Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick appointed a joint commission to assess the response to the March 2014 SR 530 Landslide that took the lives of 43 people in the Stillaguamish Valley. The SR 530 Landslide Commission was tasked with reviewing the emergency response to the slide and identifying lessons learned and policy recommendations to help make Washington safer and enhance the ability to respond to similar events. The William D. Ruckelshaus Center (Ruckelshaus Center) and WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services (DGSS) facilitated the Commission.

In July 2014 The Ruckelshaus Center met with representatives from  Governor Inslee’s and County Executive Lovick’s offices to better understand goals and expected outcomes of the anticipated Commission, develop a scope of work, and assemble a facilitation team. DGSS Director Mike Gaffney and Ruckelshaus Center Project and Research Specialist Amanda Murphy served as co-facilitators to the Commission. Governor Inslee and County Executive Lovick asked regional business leader Kathy Lombardo to serve as executive director of the Commission. The Commission operated independently, and did not examine liability, cause or fault, or act as a substitute for the courts in any way.

Between August and December 2014, the Ruckelshaus Center and DGSS facilitated 11 meetings of the Commission, helping it reach consensus on 17 recommendations and produce a final report for the governor and county executive. The Commission identified three recommendations as critical first steps: 1) more mapping of potential hazards areas; 2) better funding and integration of the state’s emergency management system; and 3) more clarity to laws for mobilizing first responders.

The Commission submitted its final report to Governor Inslee and County Executive Lovick on December 15, 2014. Those leaders, as well as legislators, members of the affected communities, and the media praised the report. Following release of the report, Governor Inslee announced he would include as part of his transportation investment package $36 million for hazard mapping and landslide mitigation measures. The governor also has set aside money in his proposed operating budget for a Hazard Identification Institute, which would be a repository for geological hazard information in the state of Washington.

In February 2015, the National Research Council Board on Earth Sciences convened a workshop of landslide and risk experts at the University of Washington to examine progress in reducing landslide risk. Speakers from several state and county agencies provided their perspectives on landslide hazards programs and emphasized the need for the application of new technologies (e.g. lidar and InSAR) in Washington to support land-use planning and zoning for landslide hazards.

State lawmakers worked to enact recommendations made by the commission. The Senate and House unanimously approved a bill (SB 5088) to allow the Department of Natural Resources to develop a database of lidar maps of landslide-prone areas in the state. The bill, signed by the governor on April 17, represents one of the first major policy changes inspired by the recommendations of the Landslide Commission. The Senate and House also passed a bill (HB 1389) clarifying that under the state’s fire service mobilization law, firefighting resources can be mobilized for non-fire emergencies.

  • 12 members appointed to the commission.
  • 11 meetings held.
  • 17 recommendations developed by commission.
  • Legislation (SB 5088) passed and signed by Governor Inslee provides $4.6 million to the Department of Natural Resources to develop a database of lidar maps of landslide-prone areas.
  • Legislation (HB 1389) passed and signed, clarifies the state’s fire service mobilization law.

“On behalf of all Washingtonians I want to thank the members and staff of SR 530 Landslide Commission for their dedication and hard work on this very important effort. … The commission did its work in a thoughtful, fair, compassionate and transparent way and produced a report of important recommendations. The work of the commission will help make us all safer in the future.” – Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

“It wasn’t just a commission going through a bunch of policies and coming up with recommendations. We really tried to understand the heartbreak and the human conditions. It was very humbling for me, personally.” – SR 530 Landslide Commissioner Bill Trimm (Mudslide Report Offers Ideas to be Ready for Next Disaster, 12/15/14 HeraldNet)

“On behalf of myself and the community of Darrington, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” – Darrington Town Councilman Kevin Ashe, in remarks to the SR 530 Landslide Commission. (Panel investigating Oso lessons needs more time, 12/3/14 HeraldNet)

For more information, please contact William D. Ruckelshaus Center, PO Box 646248, Pullman WA 99164-6248, call: 509-335-2937 or 901 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2900, Seattle, WA 98164, call: 206-428-3021. You also may contact the Division of Governmental Studies and Services, PO Box 6233, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-5131, call: 509-335-3329.

For more information on the William D. Ruckelshaus Center, please visit http://ruckelshauscenter.wsu.edu/. For more information on the Division of Government Studies and Services, please visit http://dgss.wsu.edu/.

Economic Analysis of Extension Programming in Island County, Washington

2016

Benefit-cost analysis, return-on-investment analysis, and cost-effectiveness analysis commonly are used to evaluate efficacy of specific Extension programs or services. However, few county Extension programs work within a vacuum, and county Extension staff often are dependent on each other to meet both logistical and programming needs. Thus, materials, infrastructure, and even personnel time may be shared across programs. Similarly, benefits might be accrued in a manner not documented previously. The objective of this project is to calculate how residents of a small community value Extension as a whole, as well as how they value specific Extension programs separately. Island County provides an excellent opportunity to look at a diverse set of Extension programs, yet it is small enough to develop the basis of a model.

Benefit-cost analysis, return-on-investment analysis, and cost-effectiveness analysis commonly are used to evaluate efficacy of specific Extension programs or services. However, few county Extension programs work within a vacuum, and county Extension staff often are dependent on each other to meet both logistical and programming needs. Thus, materials, infrastructure, and even personnel time may be shared across programs. Similarly, benefits might be accrued in a manner not documented previously. The objective of this project is to calculate how residents of a small community value Extension as a whole, as well as how they value specific Extension programs separately. Island County provides an excellent opportunity to look at a diverse set of Extension programs, yet it is small enough to develop the basis of a model.

Work began in earnest in January 2013 upon receipt of an internal grant, which allowed the principle investigator to interview Island County Extension staff, funded a School of Economic Sciences graduate student, supported mail surveys, and financed interviews with Extension volunteers, local leaders, business owners, and members of the general public. There were approximately 31,796 tax-paying households in 2012 in Island County, and a tax of approximately $10.80 would fund the 2012 Island County Extension budget of $343,222. Using interval regression models, we estimated the hypothetical willingness to pay for a WSU Extension office in Island County. We found that, on average, survey participants from the general population were willing to pay about $12 annually to have an Extension office in Island County. WSU volunteers and alumni or, simply, the affiliated population, were willing to pay about $15. Additionally, the affiliated population subsample has a greater willingness to pay for each program compared to the general population subsample, in terms of both inclination to pay and the average amount they were willing to pay. Both groups had the highest willingness to pay for 4-H youth development, at around $9 annually. This, perhaps, indicates the community’s recognition of the substantial external societal benefits of youth development programs.

Why might the affiliated population subsample have a higher willingness to pay than the general population subsample? We found that there were two underlying reasons for the difference in willingness to pay between the two subsamples – inclination to volunteer and knowledge. The willingness to pay among those who volunteer, either in WSU Extension programs or non-WSU community organizations, is higher than those who do not usually volunteer in community activities.

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Ready, Set, Grow Your Business

2015

Funding

Ready, Set, Grow Your Business teams developed 3 variations of small business assistance models and tested them in 4 regions. WSU Extension engaged regional stakeholders, existing networks, and new partners to inform the models and reach the target audience. Training and business assistance sessions were designed to create a professional network and provide access to experience, advice, and resources.

Small business ownership represents a significant component of the Northwest’s economy, yet there are identified gaps in available training and access to resources. The vast majority of existing entrepreneurship and small business start-up services are focused on larger firms and concentrated in urban centers, adding the barrier of travel time and distance for rural businesses to secure help. WSU Extension Community and Economic Development staff in rural communities identified a high-priority need for technical assistance for business expansion and retention, as well as for entrepreneurism and business start-up. A statewide survey of rural community leaders identified small-business support as their number one interest.

Ready, Set, Grow Your Business teams developed 3 variations of small-business assistance models and tested them in 4 regions. WSU Extension engaged regional stakeholders, existing networks, and new partners to create models to reach the target audience. Training and business-assistance sessions were designed to create a professional network and provide access to experience, advice, and resources. Participant pre-session surveys indicated the desire to learn how to effectively market their business, network with other local entrepreneurs, and build local connections for support.

REGIONAL MODELS AND HIGHLIGHTS

All models included a mix of topics from business feasibility and creating a business pitch, to product development, social media, legal structures, bookkeeping and record keeping, using financial statements to make strategic decisions, insurance, and access to capital.

Northeast WA: Eight sessions included presentations from professional resources, local business success stories, Q&A, networking, and refreshments.

Northern Idaho and Southeast WA: Nine sessions were held using the same model as in Northeast WA with the addition of one-on-one coaching and networking.

Lower Columbia Basin: Five three-hour workshops were conducted in Spanish with hands-on learning and follow-up advising sessions. Latino entrepreneurs requested additional sessions, and new partners delivered a second series.

Columbia Gorge: One-day industry-specific training and 2 agricultural tours focused on value-added food production from concept development to market delivery.

Three models, with training opportunities tailored to regional needs, increased the strength, competency, and profitability of new small-business owners.

  • Follow-up surveys reveal that in the weeks following session workshops, participants pursued business development assistance such as meeting with a Small Business Development Center or other business assistance expert, networking with other businesses, and business research.
  • Session participants reported an increased understanding of controlling business expenses, variations in marketing approaches, and improving branding in their business practices. They also reported an increased desire to use social media better in their business operations.
  • Participants also reported gaining a more complete picture of their local business climate, the skills to quickly present the benefits of what they offer to others, and an increased ability to document and process their products.

REGIONAL OBSERVATIONS

Northeast WA (Stevens & Ferry Counties): The networking and relationship building, coupled with a condensed training portion, brought in more participants than any other recent technical assistance. They appreciated the flexibility, easy access to classes, and variety of resources.

Northern Idaho (Latah & Benewah Counties, ID; Garfield, WA): Participants found the most value in networking. Professional presentations that were most appreciated: how to use financial statements to make strategic business decisions and effective marketing practices. One-on-one coaching helped several businesses overcome challenges.

Lower Columbia Basin (Latino-focused): The participants valued the informative presentations in Spanish. For them, it was a big commitment to show up one evening per week for five consecutive weeks and, remarkably, there were few absences. Because of the success, the series was repeated a few months later.

Columbia Gorge (Klickitat & Skamania Counties, WA; Hood River, Wasco, & Sherman Counties, OR): Opening a way for producers and processors to communicate has been key for future planning. They are looking for a way to start a group or alliance to continue educating themselves.

  • 217 stakeholders completed surveys, providing input for program design.
  • 140 participants in training sessions, representing 89 businesses across 4 regions.
  • 74.5% of participants are current small-business owners.
  • Many participants are newer business owners, with 47.2% in business less than five years.
  • 33% pursued networking opportunities with other small-business owners.

“Businesses enjoy the additional one-on-one help after each session, learning on a more personal level and applying it to their unique businesses. They all have the drive to be successful.”  —Jacob Stevens, student in the U of Idaho Entrepreneurial Studies and Idaho/SE WA Coach

“I’m very motivated and I see the changes in my business because of all these classes.”  —Latino business owner

“It’s so encouraging to be surrounded by people and businesses who are so positive and want to make our communities successful.” —Northeast Washington business owner

“It’s so important to surround yourself with positive people when you are starting a business  and that is the real value of these workshops.”  —Northern Idaho business owner

The Ready, Set, Grow Your Business team leveraged a $50,000 WSU internal grant to support entrepreneurs.

For more information, please contact Debra Hansen, WSU Stevens County Extension | 509-684-2588 or debra.hansen@wsu.edu or Monica Babine, WSU Extension Program for Digital Initiatives | Division of Governmental Studies and Services | 425-827-8015 or babinem@wsu.edu.

Partnering with University of Idaho Extension and many regional agencies.

Broadband Deployment in the Columbia Gorge

2016

Awards

In Klickitat and Skamania Counties, local leaders and residents were told that bringing broadband and high-speed Internet to Klickitat and Skamania counties would cost millions. Communities identified increased broadband telecommunication (Internet) availability, affordability, and use as critical to address employment issues and provide new opportunities, as well as for allowing younger residents to remain in the region while accessing education and employment opportunities.

Poverty levels in Skamania and Klickitat Counties remain relatively high, at 12.6% in Skamania County and 14.6% in Klickitat County. Additionally, in Skamania County 26.3% of residents make less than $25,000 per year and in Klickitat the percentage is 23%. Both counties have seen a significant trend away from resource extraction industries to service economies. This incorporates significant lower-wage job growth as well as some supplemented higher-income technology-sector jobs. The potential for growth in the high-tech industry that is heavily reliant on strong broadband connections, and the need for additional workforce training and educational access to support moving lower-wage workers to higher paying jobs, both indicate that investment in a robust broadband network is essential to meet key community needs.

While participating in a 2007 survey,  Klickitat and Skamania County residents identified increased broadband telecommunication (Internet) availability, affordability, and use as critical to address employment and education needs in the region. Local leaders and residents learned that bringing broadband and high-speed Internet to rural communities in the Columbia Gorge region of Washington and Oregon would cost millions. Private telecommunications providers said that there wasn’t a business case for bringing broadband to most of the smaller communities in the area.

Glenwood (pop: 500), located in a scenic but remote area of Klickitat County, understood the challenge of securing high-speed Internet, but decided it was necessary. In November 2007, a telecommunications committee spearheaded by WSU Extension formed to assist Glenwood. Over the next few years, the committee expanded partnerships throughout Klickitat and Skamania Counties.

In 2010, SawNet, a local Internet Service Provider received $3.7 million in federal funds to construct a fiber-optic “middle-mile” network in the region, meaning essential infrastructure would be built. To capitalize on this and other telecommunications investments in the region, the committee expanded its efforts, forming the Kickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team (KSLTPT). Led by the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, WSU Extension, and Community Enrichment for Klickitat County, the KSLTPT secured approximately $170,000.

Between September 2012 and June 2014, KSLTPT led planning team and stakeholder meetings, completed surveys, mapped telecommunications services, developed a framework for addressing broadband gaps, established a mobile training lab, held workshops, created a WiFi hotspot inventory, and published news releases, reports, and a broadband resource website. » More …

Washington Eldercare Workforce Assessment

Four Health Care workers

2016

PARTNERSHIPS

Like the rest of the nation, Washington is aging. By 2030, we will have nearly 700,000 more people age 65+. Can our health and social service providers accommodate both this surge in numbers and the changing needs of older adults? In the new ACA era, Washington State has an opportunity to thoughtfully and collaboratively address eldercare workforce issues, and Washington’s research universities can play a unique and valuable role.

Like the rest of the nation, Washington is aging. By 2030, we will move from one in seven residents age 65+ to one in five. Additionally, the rate of growth will quicken, from a 3-percentage-point rise over the last 15 years, to a 7-point rise over the next 15. That means nearly 700,000 more elders than today, more than the entire population of Seattle. This “age wave” began in 2011, when Baby Boomers first reached age 65. As this population continues to age beyond 65 years, the health care services it wants and needs will change. Just as children’s health care needs transform as they grow, adults’ needs change as they move into their older years.

At the national and state level, health and social service providers are concerned they will not be able to accommodate the surge in demand by older adults and the changes in their health care needs. This evolution in demand for what often is referred to as eldercare services arrives in Washington concurrently with a swell in demand for all kinds of health services brought on by the Affordable Care Act. The confluence of these two new sources of health care demands presents Washington with an opportunity to apply thoughtful, collaborative planning to identify, understand, and address health care workforce issues, especially for the eldercare workforce. Washington’s research universities can play a unique and valuable role in that process.

In Autumn 2012, the William D. Ruckelshaus Center received a grant from the WSU Extension Internal Grant Program to conduct a baseline assessment of the eldercare workforce in Washington. The center partnered with the UW Health Policy Center; 2 graduate students, at WSU (School of Economic Sciences) and UW (Department of Communication), contributed to the research. The study was designed to:

  • Discover, assess, and aggregate generally available information and data about the types of providers comprising the eldercare workforce in Washington; demand for the workforce and gaps in supply; and current policy approaches to address gaps.
  • Assess stakeholder interest in developing and participating in a statewide collaborative process to address eldercare workforce gaps.
  • Participate in and advise the Elder Health Care Work Group within the University Network for Collaborative Governance (UNCG), which is exploring ways to build state and national consensus on eldercare workforce issues.
  • Disseminate findings of the study to key stakeholders.

Based on its research, the project team developed a series of tables that outline and describe the eldercare workforce within three categories:

  • Individual Eldercare Providers – those who provide health care services, such as physicians, nurses, and oral health care professionals, and those who provide hands-on personal-care services, who are referred to as direct-care workers.
  • Employers of the Eldercare Workforce – bricks-and-mortar establishments, such as adult family homes and hospitals; professional employment agencies, such as home health care agencies; and service programs, such as adult day-health programs.
  • Public Agencies Directly Involved with Eldercare Provision – state and local agencies that implement public programs and employ case managers, health home coordinators, and others.

These tables can be used by stakeholders and policy makers to guide strategic planning for eldercare workforce capacity. For example, there are several gaps in the eldercare workforce now that, without changes in training, compensation, retention, and career advancement, will persist in the face of increasing demand. These gaps can be measured by type of provider, as well as by other criteria, such as geographic distribution, cultural and ethnic representation, and availability of care coordination.

The project team’s interviews with key informants statewide paved the way for the Ruckelshaus Center and its partners to engage with stakeholders to support creating opportunities to collaborate on eldercare workforce issues. The next phase of the project would convene stakeholders for listen-and-learn sessions that reveal and examine areas of conflict and consensus. These sessions also would help key players identify specific workforce issues and policies on which they could collaborate. In a first step, the project team has been invited by the Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board to identify potential areas of collaboration with the Health Care Personnel Shortage Task Force, to bring eldercare workforce issues to the table.

Project findings were published in 2015 in two WSU Research and Extension fact sheets, Washington State’s Eldercare Workforce and Aging in Place: A Policy Approach for Aging Well in Washington State. The baseline study also informed a formal assessment, completed in 2015, of opportunities for the Ruckelshaus Center to further involve WSU and UW in health policy collaborations.

  • 16 in-depth interviews with key informants involved in the Washington eldercare workforce.
  • More than 50 eldercare workforce-related websites reviewed for applicable information and data.
  • More than 20 meetings with, and presentations to, the University Network for Collaborative Governance, William D. Ruckelshaus Center Advisory Board, and national-level grant makers.
  • Five Project Updates/Summaries/eNews articles published and disseminated in print and electronic format including the Ruckelshaus Center’s 2,500+ mailing list and website, which received more than 38,000 page views during the project period.
  • Two peer-reviewed extension fact sheets spotlight key findings.

“There already is a well-developed peer group for senior services in the long-term care world. But there isn’t a place where the two sides of the workforce equation meet.”

“We need bold leadership to address all the needs with long-term care. We need to see government and state leadership addressing these issues.”

“Is there value in starting a collaborative group addressing eldercare workforce issues? Yes, especially if the university acts as a convener and integrates other groups, groups that maybe focus on workforce issues, but don’t yet focus on long-term care workforce issues.”

  • A unique partnership created through the Ruckelshaus Center between WSU Extension and the UW School of Public Health.
  • Expanded collaboration with the UNCG Elder Health Care Work Group.
  • Pending partnerships on future phases with WSU, NC State University Cooperative Extension, and Seattle University School of Law.

For more information, contact Michael Kern, William D. Ruckelshaus Center
901 5th Avenue, Suite 2900, Seattle, WA 98164 | (206) 428-3021 or ruckelshauscenter@wsu.edu.

For more information, please visit http://ruckelshauscenter.wsu.edu/.