Submitted by Whatcom Community College
Whatcom Community College has been awarded a $130,780 grant from the Washington State Employment Security Agency to enhance its associate degree in Computer Information Systems (CIS). This is the College’s second Career Connected Learning grant, establishing WCC as a leader for work-based learning opportunities, as well as information technology and cybersecurity.
In August, WCC was named a Career Connect Washington Intermediary and awarded $101,628 to develop a new associate degree in software development and work with employers to host paid work-based learning opportunities. The new grant will further enhance the CIS program’s paid work-based learning options for students, align curriculum to emerging trends, foster equitable access to the program, and increase engagement and mentorship with industry partners. The grant will build on WCC’s strengths in information technology and explore developing new career-connected learning opportunities leading to an associate degree in software development. Pending appropriate approvals, the targeted launch for the program will be fall 2021 with a capacity for 24 students.
Though open to all students, this degree will specifically offer systemically under-represented student populations a pathway to this high-demand and high-wage career field. The Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington (TAGNW), which helped lead industry efforts after the first grant award, will recruit industry professionals to develop a mentorship program and resources, specifically to support future retention and equity efforts.
These enhancements will further diversify the graduates of this program, who are ready to meet industry needs through guaranteed paid work-based learning opportunities. Graduates will be prepared for employment in Whatcom County (entry-level wages $21.96 – $30.11 per hour) and remote statewide employment ($24.24 – $38.63).
About Whatcom Community College
Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, WA is regularly recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. The College, a destination for cybersecurity, healthcare, and business and sustainability studies, offers two bachelor of applied science degrees, transfer degrees, career and workforce preparation, online courses, and community education classes. While WCC’s physical campus is closed, our online classes, services and commitment to student success continue. For more information, visit www.whatcom.edu.
About Career Connect Washington
We are industry, labor, education, and community leaders who are creating work-based and academic programs for young people to explore, learn, and earn money and college-level credit. We believe all students in Washington deserve a future of purpose and prosperity— and the support necessary to achieve it. That’s why we’re creating opportunities that launch every Washington student into college and career. By weaving together college and work, we can build a better workforce, better lives, and a better Washington. careerconnectwa.org.
About Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington
TAGNW is a non-profit organization located in Bellingham, WA. We advocate for technology education, foster innovation, assist business and workforce development, and provide community for students, professionals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and local government in Northwest Washington. www.tagnw.org