Submitted by Linda Nguyen, WorkForce Central CEO
Think the days are over when a young adult could buy a home two years out of high school? Think again. It’s happening right here in Pierce County for the lucky handful of students in select programs—like Aerospace—at the Pierce County Skills Center.
But people of all ages—from young adults right out of high school to mid-career adults retooling their career—benefit from the wide variety of Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities available to them in Pierce County. From high schools and career centers to community colleges, apprenticeship programs and four-year universities, Pierce County has more options than ever before to “skill up” and prepare for well-paid jobs at any point in their career.
WorkForce Central celebrates the success of Pierce County’s CTE programs as part of Career and Technical Education Month. Though February has long been designated CTE Month nationwide, in late January, Governor Jay Inslee declared February 2017 CTE Month in Washington state.
“We applaud the Governor for highlighting this important aspect of our economy,” said Linda Nguyen, CEO of WorkForce Central. “The Pierce County Skills Center is an impressive example of how CTE offers a direct path to long-term, good paying jobs. Employers are able to engage students throughout their education and handpick new employees as soon as they get their diploma.”
Of the Aerospace program’s 43 graduates in 2016, 25 are already working full-time and three are continuing their training at a post-secondary institution. In 2015, 17 graduates of the program went to work for Boeing, 100 percent of whom are still employed there. Of the 10 graduates hired by Toray Composites from the same cohort, the only one no longer employed there left to pursue a four-year degree.
The Skills Center serves students from nine school districts and 26 high schools across the region. It offers rigorous coursework for high school students to get a head-start on careers in health care, culinary arts, advanced manufacturing, information technology, public safety, construction trades and more. In line with the Governor’s proclamation, it is a place where students “participate in authentic, meaningful experiences that improve the quality of their education.”
To read the full text of the proclamation, visit wa-acte.org/. More information on the Pierce County Skills Center can be found at www.pcskillscenter.org/. The Pierce County Skills Center serves the following school districts: Bethel, Eatonville, Fife, Franklin Pierce, Orting, Steilacoom, Sumner, Tacoma and White River.
WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.