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Washington State Department of Commerce

New tool helped ensure cold storage for vials of vaccines during winter power outages

The Washington Department of Commerce, home to the State Energy Office, plays a pivotal role behind the scenes in the state’s response to energy emergencies, such as major power and fuel supply disruptions. During the pandemic, Energy Emergency Management Director Elizabeth King recognized the potential of the Washington Energy Infrastructure Assessment Tool (WEIAT, known as “Wyatt”) to help guide important elements of the state’s coronavirus response.

The tool was originally funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy which recently highlighted King’s work as a…

“Broadband is infrastructure.”

That was it. That was the tweet. And it was a powerful signal of just how crucial broadband has become to strengthening the nation’s economic and social future.

Screenshot of President Biden tweet from April 5, 2020. The tweet says “Broadband is infrastructure.”
Screenshot of President Biden tweet from April 5, 2020. The tweet says “Broadband is infrastructure.”

As the United States rebuilds its way out of a pandemic that crushed sectors of the economy and exposed deep-rooted inequities in the workplace and within communities of color, President Joe Biden unveiled his American Jobs Plan that includes $100 billion to build out broadband infrastructure and make internet service more affordable to more people. …

Commerce now has in-country representation in 10 countries helping our state’s small businesses grow through exporting and international business partnerships

The math speaks for itself. Export opportunities are a winning opportunity for Washington businesses.

· Jobs: At least one in four jobs in Washington state is connected to exports. The state’s economy is more closely aligned with international trade than any other state.

· Markets: More than 80% of the world’s purchasing power is outside the United States, making exporting a consistent source of growth and opportunity for businesses of all sizes. Currently, fewer than 1% of U.S. …

Office will focus on community gun violence disproportionately impacting communities of color

Shalisa Hayes is a mother with a mission.

In August 2011, she experienced the deepest pain a mother could feel — the loss of her young son who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Billy Ray Shirley III was 17 years old. He was shot and killed leaving a party in Tacoma, WA.

Shalisa Hayes’s son, Billy Ray, was shot and killed in August 2011. He was 17 years old. (Photo courtesy of Shalisa Hayes)

For Hayes, this wasn’t her first brush with gun violence. She had lost her father to homicide when she was a young girl. The grief from such loss can be…

“If we are to build back stronger, we must confront the inequities within our workforce and communities that have been exposed.”

(Op-ed published in Crosscut on March 9, 2021)

It seems so long ago and yet just like yesterday when countries around the world began initiating shutdowns in response to a deadly virus we knew almost nothing about. Companies shifted millions of employees to telework. Schools closed. Offices and storefronts were shuttered. In-person events were canceled. For a while we wondered if these changes would be temporary. They were not.

Frontline workers at hospitals, grocery stores and food processing plants had to continue working and face exposure to…

Clean energy projects will reduce energy burden for low-income households and nonprofit housing providers

The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $3.7 million in grants for nine solar energy projects across the state. The projects will result in a total $6.1 million reduction in the energy burden of low-income households and nonprofits serving low-income communities over 25 years.

The Low-Income Solar Deployment Program is part of Washington’s Clean Energy Fund, established in 2013. These grants will result in 2.8 …

Renewed federal grant funding supports 196 community-based homeless programs that provide transitional housing, rental assistance, supportive services and housing to nearly 18,000 people

Early last year, Sandra (name changed for confidentiality) packed herself and her five children into a car and fled her abuser in California to a friend’s home in Washington.

Shortly after arriving in Thurston County, she was directed to the Family Support Center of South Sound. They quickly connected her to a domestic violence housing advocate through the agency’s Family Justice Center Program. The advocate worked with Sandy to figure out what barriers she had to finding…

Lack of affordable child care is keeping more than 133,000 potential workers out of the workforce

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington state’s economy is challenged by persistent gaps in availability of affordable child care. According to the Washington Child Care Collaborative Task Force, lack of access to affordable child care keeps over 133,000 potential workers out of Washington’s labor force. The effects ripple through Washington’s economy, resulting in an estimated $14.7 billion less in personal earnings, $56.8 billion less in business output, $34.8 billion lower Gross State Product, and over $1 billion in lost tax revenue annually.

Percentage of families in areas that lack child care by county. Data from the Child Care Task Force 2020 Child Care Industry Assessment Report (Aug 2020).

A new report from…

Comprehensive plan details the policies necessary to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, grow the clean energy economy and ensure competitive energy prices

The Washington State Department of Commerce today released the 2021 State Energy Strategy, identifying a comprehensive set of policies and actions to ensure competitive energy prices, foster a clean energy economy, and meet the state’s science-based greenhouse gas reduction limits.

“Governor Inslee and the Legislature have established Washington state as a leader in the global transition to a clean energy economy. …

New rules put state on path to greenhouse gas emission-free electricity by 2045

Washington state has passed another milestone on the path to 100% clean electricity. The Washington State Department of Commerce and Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) adopted administrative rules for implementation of the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), the state law passed last year requiring an electricity supply free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The UTC and Commerce adopted the rules late last week after 18 months of work with stakeholders who represent the interests of residential and business customers, environmental and labor advocates, low-income and…

Washington State Department of Commerce

Washington State Department of Commerce official news and information. Our mission is to strengthen communities in our state.

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