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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Community and Technical Colleges

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January 15, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Workforce training: Some programs are stars, others have little effect

More than $842 million in state and federal money was spent on workforce training in Washington state last year, including money for many programs run by the state’s 34 community and technical colleges.

So how well do these programs do?

A recently-released report card provides some answers.

Workforce training encompasses 16 programs in Washington, including high school career and technical education, apprenticeships, worker retraining, vocational associate of arts degrees and vocational certificates, said Marina Parr, communications director for the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.

One of the top-performing programs is apprenticeships. Workers who complete an apprenticeship make, on average about $63,000 a year shortly after finishing a program. They made about $19,000 more a year than a control group of people with similar demographics who did not participate, and had an employment rate that was 9.8 percentage points higher than the control group.


Comments | More in News | Topics: apprenticeships, Community and Technical Colleges, higher ed

January 6, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Sleek new online tools on the way for community college system

Mark Weber / Op Art

Mark Weber / Op Art

Picking the right classes that lead to a degree.

Registering for courses on time.

Checking financial aid status and paying tuition and fees.

Navigating the state’s community-college landscape can be a bureaucratic nightmare for students — one made all the more maddening by an antiquated computer system.

Though the state’s 34 community and technical colleges make up a unified system, the computer network is a patchwork, lacking anything remotely resembling one-stop shopping for students wanting to manage their education online.

Many parts are 30 years old and students often must log into different applications or sections of a website to accomplish different tasks. Those challenges are intensified for students who attend more than one community college over the course of their education or start and stop it due to the demands of work or family.

Two new tools are in the works to help ease the headaches.


Comments | More in News | Topics: Community and Technical Colleges, higher ed, University of Washington