SkillUp Washington was recently awarded a grant for $750,000 to help low-skilled adults enter manufacturing careers. The 3-year award from Boeing, called the Manufacturing Advancement Pathways Project (MAPP), is to be used in four area schools, Shoreline Community College, Renton Technical College, South Seattle Community College, and Everett Community College.
Compared with 20 years ago, Washington is losing ground in the percentage of students who attend college full time right after graduating high school. In 1992, Washington ranked 11th in the country, 4% above the national average. By 2008, while the national percentage jumped 9%, the rate in Washington dropped by 4%, reducing the state’s ranking to 46th. Read more from the Seattle Times article.
The program came about as part of a state initiative that allocated $3.8 million each to both WSU and the University of Washington to increase engineering and computer science graduates and to address a critical shortage of engineers in Washington. The support will result in a more than 30 percent increase in students throughout WSU’s engineering programs. The new Everett program is modeled on a similar effort for place-bound students in Bremerton that saw its first graduates this spring. Students in the program will follow WSU’s semester system and pay WSU tuition rates. Faculty will come from Everett and Pullman, and courses originate from both campuses. Several classes will be broadcast via video, and students will take some summer laboratory classes in Pullman. Upon graduation, the students will have fulfilled WSU degree requirements.
“The WSU Everett program is addressing two major concerns for the state by providing more affordable and accessible higher education options for students and more engineers who are critically needed for our economy,’’ said Bob Olsen, associate dean of undergraduate programs and student services for WSU’s College of Engineering and Architecture. “This is another example of how WSU is meeting its land-grant mission to educate our state’s residents in a critical field.’’
National leaders whose work shapes new ideas in education discuss: What is the future we hope to realize for our children 50 years from now? What are the skills today’s children need in order to become the architects of a better world tomorrow? How are new advances in areas such as technology, gaming and brain research opening up exciting new pathways for teaching and learning? How will we make innovations in education meaningful and accessible to all children in the Next 50? How will the investments we make in educating very young children today profoundly affect our community – for better or for worse – in the next 50 years?
- Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., Creative Director of Social Chocolate, Director of Game Research and Development at Institute for the Future, best-selling author of Reality is Broken, named by The New York Times as one of 10 scientists with the best vision for what’s coming next.
- Milton Chen, Ph.D., Director Emeritus of Edutopia/The George Lucas Educational Foundation
- Roger Weissberg, Ph.D., Psychology Professor at University of Illinois and CEO of Collaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning (CASEL)
- Bette Hyde, Ph.D., Director of Washington State Department of Early Learning
- Moderated by Kristen French, Ph.D., Director of Western Washington University Center for Education Equity and Diversity
Sponsored by Committee for Children
Thursday, Aug 16 7PM
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
$10.00 Student/Educator, $16.00 General Admission,
$37.00 Premium Seating/Post-Event Reception
In recognition of the need to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in America’s public schools, President Obama announced plans to create a STEM Master Teacher Corps. The President plans to dedicate $1 billion from the 2013 budget request currently before Congress to this program. Read more about this program on the White House website.
The University of Washington announced that it would be the first university in the U.S. to offer for-credit online courses. Read more on the Seattle Times.
Applications are now being accepted for the newly created Washington State Opportunity Scholarshop program. This public-private partnership was created by the Washington State Legislature in 2011 to provide assistance to students of families earning up to 125% of the median family income and who are pursuing a degree in certain high demand fields. These fields include science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and in health care. Funding for this program was initially seeded with $5 million from the state of Washington, with Boeing and Microsoft commiting to a combined $50 million. Click here for more information or to apply.
This article from the New York Times highlights the changes taking place in community colleges. According the the Bureau of Labor and Statistics there are nearly 13 million Americans still out of work, but there are nearly 3.5 million job openings in the U.S. Many employers report that while there are a lot of people looking for work, they are having a difficult time finding potential employees with the right skills. Across the country, community colleges are trying to address this skills gap by becoming more focused on the needs of employers by developing certificate programs for in-demand skills. The process to create a certificate program is much less onerous than that of creating a degree program or developing credit classes and colleges can put them together and train workers relatively quickly.
All six of Washington state’s public university presidents spoke at Town Hall in Seattle on the current state of higher education funding. Read the coverage from the Seattle Times.
“There may be no place where the gap between politics and reality is wider right now than the UW’s computer science department. Politics these days is all about shrinking. How can we retrench, reduce or reset. But even the lecture halls aren’t big enough to contain what’s actually going on in high-tech education.”
Full article here.
The Seattle Times reported that Boston based Northeastern University has plans to open a Seattle campus in 2012. The campus will likely focus on graduate and professional programs in fields such as technology, science and health. One of the reasons that Northeastern University is opening a Seattle campus is the gap between employer needs here and the graduates coming out of local institutions. “The employer community can’t find the talented workforce based on the number of graduates coming out of the existing institutions,” said Sean Gallagher, Northeastern’s senior strategist and market development officer. (Read more)
The Seattle Times Co. recently announced the Greater good Campaign, a year-long public service effort in support of Washington State’s higher education institutions. The campaign is aimed at reinforcing the broad positive contributions of Washington State’s higher-education system on Washington’s job creation and quality of life.
With existing and proposed cuts to Washington’s public baccalaureate institutions, state funding for these institutions has dropped by nearly 50% since the 2007-2009 biennium. In real dollars, Washington state will invest less in these institutions in the 2011-2013 biennium then it did in 1989-1991 while serving 32,000 more students.
Quality education for all our citizens is vital to sustaining prosperity in our state and region. Not only does Washington’s economy benefit from having a more educated workforce, there is a return on investment on state money spent on state universities. For every $1 that the state invests in the University of Washington, more than $22 is generated in the total state economy.
In 2010, Governor Gregoire convened a Higher Education Funding Task Force to develop a plan to ensure the long-term sustainability and accountability of our state’s four-year higher education institutions. Now that the Task Force has delivered its proposal, the Prosperity Partnership is mobilizing support for these recommendations, as well as to ensure that the state continues to invest in higher education in the upcoming biennial budget. For more information on the Higher Education Funding Task Force, or to join click here.
Washington State has certainly seen some tight budgets lately, with many state programs experiencing cuts to some degree. One of these areas, higher education, has been getting some news coverage about what it means for the ability of our regional economy to position itself for recovery in in the future. In this editorial for the Seattle Times, Neil McReynolds discusses the tuition rate increases that have been one result of these cuts and the effect they are having on the state’s universities. Neil writes that the state and the voters need to answer the question of how much of a priority higher education should be. As another election season rolls around, Washington voters have the opportunity to engage candidates about these issues.
I promised in my last post that I would do one final entry on the Prosperity Blog before I leave the PSRC. And, since today is my last day, there’s no time like the present to make that happen. I also promised that this last post would be entirely self-indulgent and nostalgic, and I can think of no post that fits the bill more than the annual Prosperity Blog Year In Ideas feature – the yearly tradition in which I point out to you all how good my thoughts on economic development are, in Top Ten format.
Since it’s only halfway through the year (June 30 is less than two weeks away!), I’ll cut that Top Ten down to Top Five. And so, without further ado…and with no more ado ever again by me on this blog…here are the best practical proposals for improving our region’s business climate and competitiveness (and the most impractical, sky’s-the-limit ideas) I’ve had so far in 2011.
Ah, the thrills of victory. As you all know, the Prosperity Partnership celebrated the passage of two bills this legislative session that codified the recommendations of the Governor’s Higher Education Funding Task Force into law. And when bills pass, there’s a signing ceremony…which means
free pens for everyone involved an opportunity to acknowledge the impact that this legislation will have and the important role that a wide variety of stakeholders played in ensuring that success.
It’s our pleasure here at the Prosperity Blog to give you inside access to exactly what happened during that celebration!