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.
We are excited to share that the Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC) is now offering a four year Bachelors of Applied Science in Business Management (BAS) degree. YVCC started this new program recently and most initial slots for the degree are already filled. According to Luis Lopez, YVCC's BAS degree program administrator: "We designed the program for working adults. Classes are at night and are offered in Yakima and Grandview. Students can attend full time or part time - we are promoting flexibility so the degree program meets wide ranging needs."
In my conversation with Luis I learned that people who earned college credits without completing a degree some years ago typically cannot apply these credits towards most undergraduate degree programs. YVCC's new degree helps address this problem. The community college can accept most credits earned by students historically. This is a huge boost and incentive for people that want to return to school.
So far the new degree program is off to a fast start. YVCC created 35 initial "seats" for the BAS program and 32 students are currently enrolled. By winter quarter the program will be full. As the new program gains momentum the college hopes to increase enrollment in the program.
The BAS degree emphasizes hands on learning. Students in the program must complete a management internship in order to graduate. Courses are focused on real world exercises and program instructors all have significant experience in the private sector.
Our region has made tremendous strides to make higher education more accessible to people in our Valley. It is exciting to watch Heritage University and Pacific Northwest University grow. Central Washington has also stepped up to the plate offering several degree programs at YVCC's Higher Education Center. This new BAS program complements the growing advanced education options available locally and is one of several initiatives YVCC is implementing to broaden access to past-secondary education.
Raising educational attainment in Yakima County is probably the most important step we can take to position our regional economy for success. Companies are demanding higher skills and we need to close skill gaps within our region to advance our economy. Again its exciting to see YVCC and the rest of our higher education partners expanding to provide more local options and opportunities.
Check out our related blog on expanding higher education options
Here are profiles of our higher education and local school options
Read our blog on Pacific Northwest University's big plans