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What is a Center of Excellence?

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

COE History

In 2004-05, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges selected ten Washington State Centers of Excellence to serve as economic development drivers for the state’s leading industries.

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

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. The Centers’ core expectations include:

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 and 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.

The 11 Washington Centers of Excellence: