Spokane Community College’s Republic Center is getting a new biology teaching lab thanks to a $39,231 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant.
SCC, in collaboration with the Eastern Washington Partnership Workforce Development Council (EWP-WDC) and the Tri-County Economic Development District (TEDD) received the USDA grant to address a rural biological science education gap that currently limits fulfillment of high-demand health care workers in Ferry County.
Instructors at SCC’s Colville Center will deliver courses to students in Republic using distance education technology and additional SCC staff in Republic will assist students completing their lab assignments.
The new lab will enable the college to offer critical biology courses that are pre-requisites for rural Ferry County residents interested in pursuing health science certificates and degrees. In the past, these students have had to drive 40 miles or farther to take biology courses in Colville.
The new opportunity to earn biology credits locally at the Republic Center promises substantial benefits for both Ferry County residents and health care providers in the county. Health care occupations are among the fastest growing opportunities in northeast Washington and many of health and allied health jobs are well paying.
The local Ferry County Health District and independent health care providers report a significant problem of finding enough qualified workers. With the ability for local residents to complete a larger portion of their education locally in Republic, rather than travel outside the county, local residents pursuing needed health care credentials are more likely to stay in the area after completing their certificate or degree. This contributes to the economic viability of Ferry County health care sector and provides a means to address the county’s high unemployment rate.
The SCC Republic Center biology labs will be equipped during the fall 2018/winter 2019 quarters with the first biology courses offered locally in Republic beginning spring quarter 2019.
For more information about Community Colleges of Spokane’s grant partnerships, please contact the Office of Grants & Sponsored Research at 509-434-5160.
About Spokane Community College
SCC is one of the largest community colleges in the state serving more than 20,000 students every year at its 150-acre campus in east Spokane and its centers in Colville, Inchelium, Ione, Newport and Republic. In addition to career/technical programs and liberal arts transfer degrees, SCC also provides adult basic education and English-as-a-second-language educational programs.
Funding for this project provided in part by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Office through its Rural Business Development Grant Program.