Yesterday, the Lt. Governor traveled to Snohomish County to meet with the leadership of Edmonds Community College and Everett Community College to discuss opportunities for improving college completion, and reaching out to the diverse populations that make up the Snohomish area.
The Lt. Governor raised concerns about the significant portions of our state’s population being left behind in a technologically evolving economy. In an increasingly mechanized, digitized, and automated world, certain jobs are being replaced – and those workers need to be connected with skills-training that applies to careers that will endure in the long-term. Technical and Community Colleges are essential to addressing that issue, and both Edmonds and Everett Community Colleges shared the strategies they have used, and the pilot programs they are developing, to achieve that goal.
Both schools have responded to the vocational opportunities presented by Snohomish’s robust aerospace industry, and each has developed unique ways of serving their student populations. As one example, Edmonds Community College makes a particular effort to encourage students who have placed jobs in aerospace engineering to return to school to finish two-year and four-year degrees by connecting certification programs with degree completion support. As another example, Everett Community College is developing a new equity-oriented outreach program to enable local communities to guide curriculum, and to self-represent issues to school leadership. Both schools have developed counseling oriented around providing students guided pathways to degree completion, in order to make navigating the college process clearer.
In closing, the Lt. Governor affirmed the necessity of building relationships with, and listening to, Washington’s institutions of higher education – the best source of information on student needs, and the ideal partners for creating opportunities across the state.