Yakima County Development Association - Central Washington University Building Talent Pipeline

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 



Central Washington University Building Talent Pipeline

October 15, 2010

Dr. James Gaudino is on track to expand Central Washington University's (CWU) programs to Yakima and its other satellite facilities in Washington State.  As President of the University, Gaudino is in his second year at CWU.  He spoke at the New Vision Board of Directors meeting last night and was certainly passionate about the University's ability to support economic development and the regional economy.

Dr. Jim GaudinoGaudino said Central's mission is to educate students, conduct research, and serve as a cultural resource.  Through these activities the University can help kindle economic growth.  Dr. Gaudino cited that 63 percent of jobs will require some college level coursework by the year 2018.   He suggested CWU and other colleges and universities can help develop the talent that employers will need.  By offering classes and programs via satellite facilities and the internet Central can to broaden access to its resources, and generate more interest in higher education.

CWU's research is more hands on and applied according to Gaudino.  He suggested that the university is not likely to produce some startling new innovation but that it can help solve real world problems.  As a step in this direction, Central recently created the Central Washington University Research Foundation.  Dr. Gaudino said the Foundation can better lead efforts to support employers and the community with relevant research.  The new Foundation can also help commercialize good ideas.

Dr. Gaudino felt all the pieces were in place within the Yakima Valley to help our community access address the need for more college degrees.  He emphasized that active partnerships between Central, Heritage University, Yakima Valley Community College and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU) are producing big dividends for our Valley.  Gaudino cited examples where Central is working with PNWU to offer a joint Master Degree in Medical Science.  CWU also developed a new degree program to support our local wine industry.

Our organization is solidly behind CWU's efforts to fill the talent pipeline and support our Valley's ambition for economic growth.  The university has a great leader in Dr. Gaudino and we are looking forward to working with Central in the months and years ahead to raise educational attainment throughout the region.

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"The reason Valley Processing is located in the Yakima Valley is because of the close proximity to fruit, good transportation infrastructure, and a good workforce. " - Terry Bliesner, Vice President, Valley Processing