Washington Gov. Jay Inslee visited the Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) Nov. 27 to meet with students and faculty and learn how Career Connect Washington has supported the school and students.
Career Connect Washington is an initiative started by the governor to create a 10-year vision and strategic plan for a nation-leading career connected learning and apprenticeship system.
The initiative’s goal is to provide students alternative options to earning a four-year degree.
“Through registered apprenticeships, technical training programs, and other career connected learning opportunities, we’ll give students all kinds of ways to fulfill their dreams of helping build airplanes, cure diseases, or design innovative new software,” Inslee said in a release.
At the roundtable discussion, eight students from LWTech’s high school academy, associates and applied bachelor’s degree programs told Inslee about their experiences at the school and what their plans are post graduation. Also present at the roundtable discussion was LWTech President Dr. Amy Morrison Goings.
The students present at the roundtable discussion included Natalie Alvis, Pablo Bautista, Cole Galino, Sloane Hunt, Virginia King, Ellienn Shouse, Gage Wollman and Tevin Wright. Their fields of study ranged from baking arts and computer software, to human health and architectural technology. A number of the students are also part of LWTech’s student government.
Students in the high school academy and the high school Open Doors program are able to earn their associates degree while earning their high school diplomas, similar to Running Start. However the academy is funded by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and students can attend high school at the college.
For these students, they said they feel grateful to be able to attend LWTech and earn their desired degrees in a STEM field that will enable them to get “out into the workforce faster” than many of their peers.
Wollman, a high school student in the welding technology program, said LWTech has enabled him to do what he once thought was not possible.
“Through Open Doors, I’m able to get back on track with my education and enter the field at the same time — if not quicker — than those who stayed on their track the whole time,” he said.
Open Doors is a high school completion program. Wollman is on track to earn his high school diploma and his associates in welding before his peers outside of LWTech. He said he hopes to go into aerospace engineering.
“This is really the most exciting thing going on right now…I’m constantly amazed and proud of these students who are entering into technical careers, especially at such a quick pace,” Inslee said. “These students really are the future.”
Following the roundtable discussion, Goings said she and the school felt honored to have had Inslee visit and show a great desire to see “his initiative in action.”