Gov. Inslee visits Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland | Slideshow

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee received feedback from students and faculty at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland during a tour of the campus Thursday afternoon.

Inslee visited classrooms and spoke with students and staff in several of the school’s career training programs, including machining, photoshop, interactive media design. He planned to meet with students and teachers in the medical assisting and dental assisting/hygienist programs but couldn’t due to time constraints.

Inslee noted he was surprised to see the machining program has seen “a three-fold increase” of students in the program, partly due to funding for some equipment the Legislature has been able to secure for the school.

“It’s been heartening for me to see that the appropriations that we’ve put into the pipeline are getting here and are really expanding capability and that’s exciting,” Inslee said.

But teachers of the programs said there’s always room for improvement when it comes to staying current in an ever-evolving industry.

Mike Clifton, who has been with the machining program for 15 years, is grateful he was able to expand his classroom with help from the Legislature but said he could use additional training to keep up with industry demand.

“I’m going to do one-day return [to industry visits] but if there was someway, I would love to go back to work for four months and really get current because you don’t just learn it in one day,” Clifton said. “The new software, how do you stay up to speed on that?”

Pablo Wenceslao, a teacher in the school’s Bachelor of Technology in Applied Design (BTAD) program, told Inslee he would like to see new technology and a building for the program.

“I think students come here with the notion that this is an institute for technology,” said Wenceslao. “I think we could be probably a little bit more at par with what the industry is expecting us to have.”

Wenceslao said additional technology, such as a 3D printer, new software and funding for students to travel and experience the designing world would help students in their future.

Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-Bothell) was among many on the tour because she believes “there is a pipeline all the way from kindergarten to grade 12 and into higher education.”

McAuliffe said Lake Washington Institute of Technology develops hands-on project-based learning, which is important for many learners who may be the first to go to college in their family.

Institute President Amy Goings said she’ll work with the governor to create additional return-to-industry opportunities for her faculty.

“There is certainly more work that we can do to serve more students and certainly we hope to work with the governor and the Legislature to make those key investments in higher education so that we can continue to serve more students - that’s really the core of our business here,” Goings said, adding her thanks to the Legislature for restoring some of the higher education cuts.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Inslee also toured Bellevue College and Digipen in Redmond.


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