Washington ranks 25th among states on key success factors; up six rungs but still out of top 10

Performance improves in two measures; drops slightly in a third as state continues to invest in essential infrastructure

Opportunity Washington released the Fall 2017 Update to our Opportunity Scorecard.  The overall dashboard gauge shows improvement, but Washington remains well out of the top 10 in our key measures of performance. In summary:

When Opportunity Washington got underway in 2014 we spent a lot of time meeting with community members, business owners and civic leaders in every part of the state, from large cities to small towns. Our goal: to understand what issues mattered most to them and how we could work together to make sure that our state’s unique culture of opportunity was extended to every Washingtonian. We found an uncommon level of agreement on what we came to call Priorities for Shared Prosperity. The priorities are three: ACHIEVE (educational quality and outcomes), CONNECT (transportation), and EMPLOY (economic vitality).

To measure progress, we created the Scorecard, using key measures of performance in each of the three priority areas. We examine 17 variables across the categories of Achieve, Connect, and Employ. The dials are set so the score of the 10th best state is 100, and the median is 75. From there, the analysis produces a weighted average or “Opportunity Score” for each state. The goal is to make Washington a top 10 state overall and in each of the three categories.

Achieve and Employ data each make up 40 percent of the Opportunity Score; Connect makes up 20 percent. (Access the data sources and FAQ for detail on the methodology). Changes in the rankings are dynamic. Even with improved performance, Washington can fall behind if other states demonstrate more rapid progress.

Overall, we rank 25th. The component rankings are:

ACHIEVE: 18, up from 22 in our last report.

CONNECT: 39, down from 38.

EMPLOY: 21, up from 30.

In no area do we hit our “top 10” goal. But we are encouraged by progress in both education and economic vitality. From the beginning, we knew changing our CONNECT ranking would be a challenge. In our prosperous metro corridors, particularly, commute times have been affected by population growth and increased economic activity. The Connecting Washington transportation package adopted by the Legislature in 2015 should help improve system performance over time.

Please read the Scorecard and share it with your friends and colleagues. Together, we know we can continue to make progress and build an economy that works for everyone.

About Opportunity Washington: Opportunity Washington is a roadmap for expanding Washington’s culture of opportunity to individuals, families, employers, and communities in every corner of the state. It is based in research and informed by community input.  Opportunity Washington was developed by WashACE and is backed by a statewide coalition that believes the shared prosperity of Washington’s citizens depends on smart public policy and strategic investments.

                         – Opportunity Washington