A new agreement between Spokane Community College (SCC) and Eastern Washington University (EWU) has established a pathway for skilled trade workers to earn a bachelor’s degree.
The partnership comes after more than two years of work between the two schools and creates a pathway for a journeyman to receive their associate’s degree at SCC, with the option to then transfer to EWU and earn their bachelor’s degree in Applied Technology.
Avista saw a need for more managerial opportunities for craft employees and helped start the conversation between the two schools.
“This a monumental accomplishment and testament to two great academic organizations who truly put the advancement of students first,” says Alexis Alexander, Maintenance and Construction Manager at Avista who helped initiate the discussion. “The partnership opens doors for craft employees who have been the backbone of companies like Avista for so many years, by making a college degree more accessible, enabling them to take their careers to greater heights.”
The Inland Empire Electrical Apprenticeship organization says this agreement further legitimizes apprenticeship as a tremendous pathway, not just to skilled trades but to higher education as well.
“For our apprentices who choose to pursue their associate’s degree with SCC, they now know that a great local university will recognize their hard work and provide a pathway for them to continue on to a bachelor’s degree or beyond,” says Jon Medaris, training instructor for the apprenticeship organization, which is a partnership between the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 73 and the National Electrical Contractors Association.
For its part, SCC updated some of its courses in its Multi-Occupational Trades associate’s degree to better align with classes offered in EWU’s Applied Technology bachelor’s program.
“This new partnership will provide a pathway to a bachelor’s degree for many journey level workers, including the IBEW electrical workers, Pacific Northwest Ironworkers, Inland Empire Sheet Metal Workers, the Plumbers and Steamfitters UA44, to name a few,” says Jaclyn Jacot, SCC’s dean of extended learning and workforce initiatives. “The agreement recognizes the strenuous coursework completed by journey level workers, which includes a minimum of 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and 450 hours of classroom instruction. If they take another 30 hours of credits, the apprenticeship students earn their associate’s degree in Multi-Occupational Trades (MOT).”
The partnership is also well-aligned with EWU’s vision to train an educated workforce that strengthens our economy.
“The hallmark of Eastern’s engineering and technology program has always been strong hands-on, career-oriented training,” says David Bowman, EWU’s dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (CSTEM). “This partnership with Avista and SCC provides working adults with access to a professionally-relevant education that will help them advance their careers. We’re also proud to give the people of our region a unique program that will provide employers an educated workforce with real-world skills.”
Those instrumental in making the agreement happen include Jacot and Kenna May of SCC, and CSTEM Dean David Bowman and Terence Geyer of Eastern Washington University.