State Starts on Path to Employ Graduates

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State Starts on Path to Employ Graduates

Avista and WSU partner for innovative engineering education
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Learn about @AvistaUtilities partnership with WSU in innovative engineering education. http://3bl.me/a4nka9http
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 10:30am

CAMPAIGN: Shared Value

CONTENT: Article

Opinion -- Candis Claiborn, dean of the Washington State University College of Engineering and Architecture 

At graduation time, many college graduates are worried about finding employment in a tough job market. You might be surprised, then, to learn that Washington employers in some sectors are struggling to find Washington-trained employees.

Meeting burgeoning industry demand in the state for engineers and computer scientists will require a joint, concerted and continuing effort between public and private partners. At Washington State University, we are making significant strides toward that goal, and I look forward to working with partners around the state to build on those efforts.

Washington was recently ranked first in the nation for the share of workers in high-tech industries at 11.4 percent. Yet, we rank near the bottom when it comes to producing graduates with engineering and computer science degrees. The power industry is also facing the challenge of an aging workforce, with one-half of employees becoming eligible for retirement in the next five years.

Our engineering and computer science graduates play an essential role in growing our economy in a wide range of high-technology fields, including the electric power and aerospace industries.

Last year, the Washington Legislature recognized the problem and directed that $3.8 million currently used to support other programs at WSU and University of Washington be spent to grow engineering and computer science enrollments to meet this industry demand. As a result, we are rapidly growing our engineering and computer science programs by 30 percent, allowing 425 more students to enroll.

Washington State University has launched innovative programs that partner with private-sector employers to develop graduates with job-ready knowledge and skills in rapidly evolving, high-tech industries.

After several years of providing ongoing support, Avista Corp. has recently forged such a partnership with WSU that promises to benefit our students, regional employers and the state. Supporting research and innovation is critical to preparing students for new smart grid technologies.

Click here to read more about Avista's partnership with WSU for innovative engineering education. 

*This op-ed first appeared in The Spokesman Review

Keywords: Education | Avista | Education | Energy | Partners | STEM | Smart Grid | Social Impact & Volunteering | Washington State University | engineering

CAMPAIGN: Shared Value

CONTENT: Article

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