Spokane’s long term lagging economy

I have noted, repeatedly, that Spokane’s regional economy has lagged behind much of the state – for decades.

I ran across a 2003 Brookings Institution report that had this to say about Spokane’s past and recent economy:

However, the region’s economic performance has lagged behind that of the Puget Sound in terms of job creation and income growth. Agriculture has not been a source of employment growth for many years; productivity advances and stringent competition in the grain markets that are the mainstay of eastern Washington agriculture have removed possibilities of job growth in this sector. Mining in adjacent northern Idaho has also been severely impacted by international competition, tighter environmental regulation, and depleted deposits, resulting in several major mine closures. Since the 1980s, forest-based industries throughout the Northwest have been constrained by new sustained yield standards and tighter regulation of forest practices to protect various environmental values and endangered species. Thus another strong source of jobs in the Inland Empire became a source of dislocated workers.

And draws this conclusion:

As a consequence of these trends, a transition to alternative economic bases is an important goal. Technology-based development and a strengthened health care sector linked to biotechnology and biomedical instrument manufacturing are seen by area business leaders as the keys to further job and income growth in this region.

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Spokane County report confirms Spokane benefited from past recessions

I previously hypothesized that Spokane benefited from national recessions, but that since the year 2000, this is no longer the case. In a globalized world, companies no longer move to Spokane to cut costs – they move to international destinations instead.

I just ran across a similar comment in a Spokane County report from earlier in 2010:

Source: Spokane County Old Corral Pit Triangle Property report, Spokane County Engineer’s Office, June 4, 2010.

Interesting? “Spokane County’s economy surged during the 1990s, in part due to recessions in other areas of the country”. During recessions, companies look to cut costs and Spokane’s low wages and how housing and office space costs proved attractive.

The following claim – if read literally – is bizarre. I suspect this government report was a “copy and paste” job made by copying sections from older reports. Throughout the report there are sections that read as if they were contemporary writing in the 1990s or other time periods. Specifically, high tech industries peaked in 1984 and declined since then?

Spokane Community College’s Nursing Program Remains Unaccredited

Is Spokane Community College’s nursing program accredited by NLNAC?

SCC’s nursing program currently is not accredited by NLNAC. Following an October 2009 NLNAC accreditation site visit, we learned we have some additional work to do to comply with NLNAC criteria. This includes clarification of lab preceptor duties that affect the ratio of faculty with master’s and bachelor’s degrees and the way student outcomes are communicated on our website, student handbook, and course syllabi.

via NLN Accreditation Questions and Answers – Nursing – Spokane Community College.

Students allege SCC’s Nursing program failed accreditation two years ago and then tried to cover up by falsely claiming some teachers without Masters degrees were not actually teachers (which agrees with SCC’s official statement above):

“They tried to cover it up from the NLN regulators by saying that some of the staff (lab teachers) weren’t teachers. The students went into an uproar because these lab teachers had the ability to fail us. We complained to this board and SCC failed. This was the second time they failed!!! They promised me they would have the cert back by the time I graduated but since they failed, I graduated w/o it.

(Read the linked online forum discussion – a lot of information about the problems.)

UPDATE AUGUST 2011: SCC is now listed on the “Candidacy” page to achieve accreditation between Spring 2011 and Spring 2013. Rumor says the SCC program has passed the state inspection and a formal accreditation review is being scheduled for NLNAC accreditation, which it hopes to receive during 2012.

Due to the lack of accreditation, some employers are turning down graduates due to perceived “liability” concerns. Current SCC nursing graduates are said to be ineligible for Federal jobs, such as at the local V.A. Hospital.  Some (but not all) 4 year degree programs are allegedly not accepting SCC nursing graduates in to transfer BSN programs due to the lack of accreditation.

Even though this situation has persisted for some time, there is no local news media coverage.

Does it matter? Suppose you are a health care organization and you get sued for malpractice. What’s the first thing the plaintiff’s attorney is going to ask? “Is it true that your staff are graduates of an unaccredited nursing program?”

You can quickly see why graduates of the currently unaccredited SCC A.D.N. program will be challenged in finding work as an R.N. This is not good.

Update January 2011: There are rumors, likely true, that SCC replaced some staff and is now working hard to have the nursing program receive accreditation by the Fall of 2011.

You can check the NLNAC list of accredited community college programs in Washington here (you’ll need to search for it though). As of Feb 2011, SCC is not accredited nor is it on the candidate status page.

You can also see the official denial of accreditation to Community Colleges of Spokane nursing program on the NLNAC Commission Actions page.