For Washington STEM, the 2020 60-day legislative session was fast-paced, productive, and full of collaboration from educators, business leaders, and community members from across the state.


photo of Washington State capital building
During Washington’s 2020 legislative year Washington STEM, alongside our 10 regional STEM Network partners, 15-person policy executive committee, and the Washington STEM advocacy coalition, worked to advance policies that focus on equity, STEM, and creating meaningful change for students who are furthest from opportunity in our state.


Washington STEM brings together a broad set of stakeholders to ensure that the policies we are championing are equitable and feasible in a legislative cycle. With the support of our policy executive committee, we focused on three policy asks prioritizing Washington STEM’s two focus areas – Career Pathways and Early STEM.

Career Pathways

Our ask: Prioritize funding for Leadership Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER). For more information on this policy priority, read this LASER policy brief from Washington STEM.

  • The outcome: $500,000 to fund Washington LASER programs.

Our ask: Increased funding for Career Connect Washington programs. For more information on this policy priority, please read this Career Connect Washington policy brief.

  • The outcome: $875,000 to expand career connected learning program intermediary grants; $150,000 to create a career connected learning statewide program inventory.

Early STEM

Our ask: Make investments in Early Learning Coordinators at each Education Service District across Washington. For more information on this policy priority, please read this Association of Education Service Districts (AESD) policy brief.

  • The outcome: This request was included in a policy omnibus bill SB6253 which did not pass & was not included in the budget for this year.
photo of Senator Conway meeting with Tacoma STEAM Network
Sen. Steve Conway (LD 29) met with the Tacoma STEAM Network to discuss improving equity in STEM.


How does Washington STEM help create change through policy? Through partnership, collaboration, and hard work. Throughout the 2020 legislative session, we worked with organizations and stakeholders from across Washington to make change possible. Here are a few examples of what that looks like.

  • On January 29th, Washington STEM was joined by our 10 regional STEM Network partners and 45+ educators, business leaders, and advocates to hold 90+ meetings with elected officials in Olympia. These meetings are critical to ensuring that equity, STEM, and our policy asks were front and center for lawmakers.
  • Jenee Myers Twitchell, Impact Director for Washington STEM, traveled to Olympia to advocate to the House Finance Committee for investments in workforce and education through SB 6492; she also advocated to the House Appropriations Committee on HB 2308 for quality data that can help the state assess if the education and workforce investments Washington is making are impacting students equitably.
  • Partners from across the state helped lend their support by writing opinions in local newspapers to help illustrate what equitable, high-quality STEM programs look like on the ground. For example, Dr. Michael Dunn, Brad Van Dyne and Lorri Reilly shared their story of how LASER makes a difference in the Spokane region. Similarly, Dr. Damien Pattenaude, Superintendent of the Renton School District, and Dr. James Heath, President of the Institute for Systems Biology, illustrated how their partnership through LASER is creating equitable change in the Puget Sound.

We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do in the 2020 legislative session, but we know there’s a lot of hard work ahead. As we all continue to navigate an unfolding public health emergency, you can count on Washington STEM to seek out and act on policies that will equitably benefit Washington students.

For more detailed session review information and updates, visit www.washingtonstem.org/advocacy.