May 9: Rural Pathways to Prosperity Conference helps build strong rural workforce

Local leaders invite you to join them on Wednesday, May 9, for the Rural Pathways to Prosperity Conference (P2P), part of a statewide effort to help communities provide youth better job preparation and more opportunities to learn valuable work skills.

This event is a day of inspiration, learning and regional networking to make better connections between business, educators and students (particularly career and technical education students) through partnerships, mentorships, apprenticeships and other opportunities and engage with a national expert… without leaving your community.

Participants in over 18 sites across rural Washington will simultaneously watch Brent Parton, a national expert sharing best rural practices across the nation and state, and Chris Reykdal, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction help participant link to statewide career and technical education resources and opportunities for apprenticeships, internships, mentorships and other on-the-job learning experiences.

After their presentations, each site will put their ideas into action through facilitated discussions and activities, turning their attention to local issues, resources and project ideas. Community leaders will be able to ask questions, learn more about how to help young people in their own area gain work experience, and create a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the needs of business in even the most remote areas of the state.

This conference is free to attend and will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. There are 22 local sites across the state, look for a local sites near you at

Teens take part in 4-H Robotics, part of a Kettle Falls club.
Students take part in a 4-H robotics program in Kettle Falls.

“There are many people that want to connect youth, professionals and employers to opportunities through hands-on learning experiences – this conference gives people in our communities a chance to talk together and try and figure things out,” said Debra Hansen, WSU Extension faculty and conference chair. “This is a good time to sit down, have creative conversations and take action.”

Hansen feels the conference is a good opportunity for businesspeople to get together with area residents and leaders discuss concerns about programs and policies that prepare young people for great jobs in their local economies. “Certainly it is for people who are concerned for Washington’s future,” she said, emphasizing the hope for increased partnerships between regional agencies, community leaders and businesses.”

The 2018 Rural Pathways to Prosperity Conference is sponsored by WSU Extension in partnership with Washington Workforce Board, Association of Washington Cities, USDA-Rural Development, and Career Connect Washington, and with funding from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

It’s free to attend, but space might be limited at your location – please register at the link above so locations can plan for the right amount of people and have materials for all.

For more information, visit or call Debra Hansen at (509) 684-2588 or

Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability; marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office.