Friday Sep 20, 2019

"Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) builds pathways into high-demand Washington careers for Washington students."

Jessica Monger

External Affairs Director Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

Introduced by: Chris Monger

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Our speaker Jessica Monger, External Affairs Director for Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS), discussed how WSOS builds pathways into high-demand Washington careers for Washington students. WSOS was created in 2011 and key board members are: Brad Smith, President of Microsoft; Jim Sinegal , retired CEO of Costco; Diane Cecchettini, retired CEO of Multicare Health System; and Janelle Denney, VP, Human Resources of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.  

Washington has one of the fastest growing state economies with more trade, health care and STEM jobs than we can fill. WSOS aims to connect our state’s leading industries with top Washington talent by reducing barriers to education and training and facilitating entry into high-demand careers for Washington students. Working collaboratively with the state and industry partners, WSOS launches low- and middle-income students into careers, maximizing the return on investment for the state and ensuring our state’s robust economy can continue to thrive.

With the generous support and engagement of industry and philanthropic donors – matched dollar-for-dollar by the state of Washington – WSOS prepares and launches Washington students into the careers that support our state economy. Industry leaders, including founding partners Boeing and Microsoft, help power our board because they recognize the need to bolster a pipeline of local talent to fill our state’s job needs.

WSOS is a proven model for addressing the state’s workforce challenges with transparent, measurable outcomes. WSOS will help more than 20,000 Scholars pursue a high-demand trade, health care or STEM degree or credential by 2025. These Scholars hail from every corner and county of Washington state, bringing with them a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences to our STEM and health care industries.

WSOS believes that innovative industries thrive when they reflect their own communities. They are working to create a college to career pipeline that provides opportunities for women and students of color. Of their most recently awarded cohort of Baccalaureate Scholars, 61% are women, 64% are students of color and 65% are first-generation college students.

WSOS believes education is a life-changing opportunity that can break the cycle of generational poverty. The average family income of their most recently awarded  Baccalaureate students was just over $41,000 at their time of acceptance into WSOS, while the average salary of recent WSOS graduates employed full-time is $62,297. Nearly all WSOS Baccalaureate graduates are employed or in graduate school (94%), and most (81%) live in Washington state.

Jessica shared that WSOS provides much more than money. Their pathway of student support begins on day one of college and follows the Scholars through the launch of their professional career. They are provided resources and support to ensure they can continue their studies, graduate on time, and launch their careers here in Washington. WSOS’s efforts are focused in key areas- STEM, Computer Science, medical, teaching, construction and engineering as well as commercial trucking and information technology, all areas where there is strong demand for more employees and not enough supply.

Artie, one of the present WSOS scholars, also attended our meeting and spoke about the program and how it is helping him.

At the end of Jessica’s presentation, “Glory Years” President Chris Monger presented Jessica with a card, denoting the donation of 1000 pounds of fresh produce, thanks to a donation from Pratt Legacy Advisers.

And everyone needs to remember Oktoberfest is on Saturday evening, October 26, at the home of John and Jan Martinka!

About the Speaker

Jessica Monger is the External Affairs Director for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS). Her work is focused on building strong relationships with external partners including elected officials, industry leaders and education stakeholders. Prior to her work at WSOS, Jessica was a newspaper reporter and worked in alumni advocacy and lobbying at the University of Washington. She has a master’s degree in education policy from UW and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.