Senator Maria Cantwell Talks Jobs, Education with LCC Students

By:  Wendy Hall
Source: Lower Columbia College

United States Senator Maria Cantwell visited Lower Columbia College today to speak with students and staff about her ideas for how the country can do a better job of filling the pipeline for tomorrow's workforce. She supports partnerships, such as between K-12 and community colleges, to prepare students for the types of jobs that will be available when they graduate.

“The more we can drive down into the high school level and get (students) credit, and then get them to community colleges, that is a very cost effective way to go...you're creating a pipeline. If (students) can find a path toward education and employment that is more accessible, they are going to take it.” -Senator Maria Cantwell

She also supports an increase in the availability of apprenticeship opportunities to give students a chance to experience the workforce, and earn wages, while they are still learning. To this end, she is advocating for the creation of 500,000 more apprenticeship slots across the nation through incentives for employers.

During the visit, LCC President Chris Bailey shared that the college's new Multicraft Trades certificate program is designed to provide multiple options for students--including entering the workforce or apprenticeship pathway, or continuing on to an associate degree program. The program is ideally suited to students coming right out of high school, but works well for older adults.