Employer-hosted work opportunities sought

BELLINGHAM — Whatcom Community College has been named a Career Connect Washington Intermediary and awarded $101,628 from the Washington Employment Security Agency to develop a new associate degree in software development. The college is seeking local and regional employers to help develop the program and host paid work-based learning opportunities with their organization.

In partnership with the Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington, the one-year Career Connect grant will build on WCC’s strengths in information technology and explore developing new career-connected learning opportunities leading to an associate degree in software development. Pending appropriate approvals, the targeted launch for the program will be fall 2021 with a capacity for 24 students.

In close collaboration with the technology community, the degree will help address the growing gap in Washington state for skilled software developers. From 2020 to 2025, the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges and Washington Student Achievement Council project that there will be more than 2,000 annual job openings for computer scientists with associate degrees. To meet employer demand, WCC is striving to prepare more graduates for this field.

Though open to all students, this degree will specifically offer women and systemically non-dominate populations clear pathways to this high-demand and high-wage career through tailored program and curriculum development.

TAGNW will convene industry representatives to help shape program outcomes and paid work-based learning opportunities. Based on this input, WCC’s computer science faculty will develop the degree template and course curriculum.

For more information, visit the WCC Software Development Career Launch project website at www.tagnw.org/wcc-software-development. Employers interested in participating can contact Michael Gan, TAGNW executive director, at 360-499-2099 or director@tagnw.org.