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What is a Center of Excellence?

The Centers of Excellence serve as statewide liaisons to business, industry, labor, and the educational system, providing support for economic development.

The Washington State Centers of Excellence, selected by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, serve as economic development drivers for the state’s leading industries.

Located on college campuses through a competitive application process, the Centers were codified into state statute in 2008, WA HB1323, making Washington the only state in the country to have Centers designated through legislation.

The Centers serve as a point-of-contact and resource hub for industry trends, best practices, innovative curriculum, and professional development opportunities. Guided by industry, the Centers have become a national model for their impact on workforce education, ties to industry, and regional outreach.

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Core Expectations of the Centers

  • Economic Development Focus: Serve as partners with various state and local agencies, regional, national, and global organizations to support economic vitality and competitiveness in Washington’s driver industries.
  • Industry Sector Strategy Focus: Collaboratively build, expand and leverage industry, labor and community and technical college partnerships to support and promote responsive, rigorous, and relevant workforce education and training.
  • Education, Innovation & Efficiency Focus: Leverage resources and educational partnerships to create efficiencies and support development of curriculum and innovative delivery of educational strategies to build a diverse and competitive workforce.
  • Workforce Supply/Demand Focus: Research, analyze and disseminate information related to training capacity, skill gaps, trends, and best practices within each industry sector to support a viable new and incumbent workforce.

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