Running Start For Careers
Feature written in September 2020
FHLB Des Moines Member: BECU
While the need for trained trade professionals continues to rise across the country and in Spokane County, the number of qualified individuals to fill those positions has not been keeping pace. Thanks to recent legislation, Running Start for Careers can bridge this gap by offering local high school students interested in the trades the chance to earn dual credit to receive an Associate's degree and high school diploma at the same time, in most cases tuition-free.
While an amazing opportunity, there is still a barrier to many students interested in this opportunity. Student costs, such as book fees and equipment, can be thousands of dollars. The Running Start for Careers initiative fundraises to cover those student costs, allowing more students in SCC’s district to take advantage of the opportunity.
“The program supports students who come from low-income households or are facing financial barriers," said Dr. Kevin Brockbank, president of Spokane Community College, said. "We're working to remove barriers so these students will have the chance to go to school and become experts in their industry.”
Through the Running Start for Careers program, a local high school junior could earn their high school diploma while they gained the training and certifications necessary to become an automotive or electronics engineering technician. This opportunity will allow industry professionals to enter their field at least two years early, provide local high school students with more career options and use established connections with local trade organizations to place students into their careers.
The real impact is expected to be seen years from now, when those who have gone through the Running Start for Careers program achieve a more stable income and businesses that rely on local, expert employees will continue to thrive.