March 25 , 2013
For Immediate Release
For additional information:
Clark College Communications and Marketing
Clark College takes the Next Step
toward bringing classes to the Gorge
VANCOUVER, Wash. – As the economy of the Columbia River Gorge has developed, so has its needs for a more highly trained workforce. Recently members of two Gorge school districts reached out to Vancouver-based Clark College to help meet those needs.
Representatives from Clark College recently attended two public meetings in the Columbia River Gorge to hear public input and gauge interest in offering college-level classes to the communities of Klickitat and Skamania counties. The public meetings were hosted by the Stevenson-Carson School District and the White Salmon Valley School District. Held at the Wind River Education Center in Carson and at the Columbia High School Library in White Salmon during February and March, the meetings were well attended by a cross-section of prospective students, business leaders, educators and economic development advocates.
More than 200 people attended the meeting in Carson, indicating the interest was there for college-level classes. Although there was a smaller number in attendance in White Salmon, the participants there clearly stated the need for educational programming to train for workforce needs, particularly for the growing high-tech sector in the Gorge. What Clark College officials still need to determine is how many and what types of classes to offer.
“Clark has explored the option of offering for-credit classes in the Gorge before, but we know that demands change with changing economic times,” said Clark College President Robert Knight. “We really needed to hear that the interest was there for a model that we could fiscally maintain and one that would be sustainable for the workforce needs of these communities.”
Clark College is already offering adult basic education and ESL classes through the WorkSource offices in Stevenson and White Salmon and will continue those classes. The proposed expansion would bring general education offerings to the region—classes that would have broad appeal and that also could be taken by Running Start students.
Participants at both meetings were asked to fill out surveys to indicate the classes they would like to see offered. The college is also evaluating current enrollment by students who reside in Klickitat and Skamania counties to determine which classes are currently being taken by those students.
Clark College is working with the school districts of Stevenson-Carson and White Salmon Valley to identify available infrastructure. In addition, the college has begun preliminary discussions with businesses in the Gorge to establish partnerships for building a supply of skilled workers to fill the workforce needs of the community.
|Dr. Jerry A. Lewis, White Salmon Valley School District Superintendent
“White Salmon Valley School District is excited about developing partnerships with Clark College and Stevenson-Carson School District for expanding college-level course opportunities that will better meet the growing needs of our students, adult learners, and communities,” said Dr. Jerry A. Lewis, Superintendent of White Salmon Valley School District.
Clark College may begin offering a limited number of classes this summer; the formal kickoff is scheduled for fall quarter in September. Classes in Skamania County will be offered at the Wind River Education Center, formerly the middle school for the Stevenson-Carson school district. A location for White Salmon classes is being discussed.
Residents of Skamania and Klickitat counties who were unable to attend the public meetings can still provide feedback by either filling out an online survey at www.clark.edu/surveys/windriver or by emailing their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Clark College
Located in Vancouver’s Central Park and serving up to 16,000 students per quarter, Clark College is Washington state’s largest single-campus, for-credit community college. The college currently offers classes at two satellite locations, one on the Washington State University Vancouver campus and one in the Columbia Tech Center in East Vancouver. Additionally, its Corporate & Continuing Education program is housed in the West Coast Bank building in downtown Vancouver.