The Washington State Lt. Governor’s office Friday announced the launch of a new, adult-friendly degree program called theApprenticeship Pathway. The first such program in the country, the Apprenticeship Pathway was created through a partnership with Central Washington University and Renton Technical College as part of the Lt. Governor’s Complete Washington Program.
Rolling admissions are now open for the 2021 winter quarter program.
The Apprenticeship Pathway program, designed specifically for workers in the building and construction trades, counts work and apprenticeship experience for credit and is offered in a flexible online format. Starting with a registered building trades apprenticeship program, which articulates into Renton Technical College’s multi-occupational trades associate degree, the Apprenticeship Pathway ultimately culminates in a bachelor of applied science degree from Central Washington University’s Information Technology and Administrative Management department with a focus in project management.
“Lt. Governor Habib believes college should be accessible and affordable for every Washingtonian, regardless of where they come from,” said Mary Chikwinya, director of higher education for the Lt. Governor’s office. “Complete Washington is our office’s way of making that idea a reality. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our higher education and industry partners, this new Apprenticeship Pathway will give credit where credit’s due by counting work and apprenticeship experience toward degree completion. No one should have to choose between earning a living and earning a degree.”
President of the Northwest Carpenters Union Joe Cadwell said of the program: “We are thrilled we can now offer our workers a bachelor’s degree program that doesn’t force them to quit their jobs and doesn’t start them from square one. The learning that takes place on the worksite is extremely valuable — and this degree program actually captures that.”
Given that Lt. Gov. Habib did not run for re-election this past year, Lt. Gov.-elect Heck will manage the Complete Washington program after the administration transitions on Jan. 13.
“This is a great day for Washington,” Heck said. “I’m glad our state recognizes the value of the school of apprenticeship in attaining career readiness. We need innovative approaches to degree completion to match our global competition. The economic vitality of Washington is dependent upon having a highly-qualified workforce to meet the demands of a 21st century economy. ”
The Complete Washington Apprenticeship Pathway is one project under the Lt. Governor’s Complete Washington initiative, a statewide effort to create educational pathways that empower workers to overcome barriers to career advancement and to inoculate them against economic disruption. Habib launched the program in 2018 in response to the urgent need noted by the Washington Student Achievement Council and others to increase the number of adults in Washington state with college credentials. The program is funded by the State Legislature and is administered by the Lt. Governor’s office per state statute.