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Education Lab Blog

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

Topic: Walla Walla

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May 18, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Sunday story: Fewer dropouts, more degrees at Walla Walla Community College

At the end of spring quarter, student Cody Janett, left, and assistant enologist Sabrina Lueck help press caps on freshly filled bottles of Champagne in Walla Walla Community College’s viticulture and enology program. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

At the end of spring quarter, student Cody Janett, left, and assistant enologist Sabrina Lueck help press caps on freshly filled bottles of Champagne in Walla Walla Community College’s viticulture and enology program. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

WALLA WALLA — With its picturesque main street and pleasant, tree-lined neighborhoods, Walla Walla was recently named the friendliest small town in America.

The epicenter of a celebrated wine industry, its All-American atmosphere also harbors a soul that’s ambitious and entrepreneurial.

It’s an attitude that extends to the local community college, too. So when Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) took a hard look at the number of students it was losing every year — students on the verge of completing their degrees, but who instead simply drifted away — administrators knew they needed to take action.

Why did students quit?

Why didn’t they transfer to four-year colleges, or finish the credentials that would add heft to their résumés?

The questions, while vexing for college leaders, were not new, or even unique.

Nationally, only about 40 percent of first-time, full-time students at community colleges complete a degree or transfer within three years.

Go here for the full story.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: community college, higher ed, Walla Walla

May 17, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Tell us: How did you figure out which career was right for you?

Many students begin college not knowing what sort of career they’d like to pursue after graduation. Many schools, meanwhile, lack the resources to help them figure it out or direct them to the appropriate coursework.

To combat low degree completion rates, Walla Walla Community college, the focus of our front-page Sunday story, has implemented a system that helps students zero in on their interests and stick to a strict academic schedule so they can quickly earn the credentials they need.

Our question this week: How did you figure out which career you wanted to pursue, and how to get the necessary training? Was college a pivotal point for this decision making, or did the process continue after you graduated? If you did not attend college, how did you end up with the job that you have?

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Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: Community colleges, higher ed, Walla Walla