Education or training after high school is important
In most cases and places, living wage job opportunities are contingent on some form of training, certification or college pathway completion. In Whatcom and Skagit County we have a high number of educational and training institutions nearby, which makes employers more likely to hire someone with specified training, like through an apprenticeship or someone who holds a college degree. As seen in the chart below, there is considerable average variation (nationally) in annual earnings based on educational attainment. Similarly, there are considerably higher rates of employment for those with higher levels of education (Korsmo, 2017).
When our current systems are not designed for first-generation, low-income, minority or historically marginalized populations to thrive (as they are not) opportunities for a post-secondary education, well-paid career positions of decision-making power get filled by those with vastly different life experiences. While our region is diverse, positions of power tend to be filled by individuals who benefit from the status quo, and systems of oppression continue without close examination. We want the interests of our entire community to be represented in well-paying jobs and for generational poverty to decrease.