Published Feb. 27, 2014
By Ty Beaver, Tri-City Herald
The bad news: The United States isn't producing enough
highly trained professionals to fill the jobs in increasingly
technological "knowledge" economy, said Columbia Basin College President
The good news: The Tri-Cities could play a strong
role in filling those jobs through innovation and supporting the
talented people who live in the Mid-Columbia, the nation and the world,
said Washington State University Tri-Cities Chancellor H. Keith
However, the Tri-Cities can't take on that role without
help, the officials told about 200 members of the Tri-City Regional
Chamber of Commerce during a Wednesday luncheon at the Pasco Red Lion.
"The question is, how do we get the investment to get the full use of our resources," Moo-Young said.
economy has changed markedly from the one dominated by manufacturing
that the parents of baby boomers built, Cummins said. A high school
diploma is no longer enough in a post-Great Recession economy and other
countries already have caught on to that, leaving the U.S. behind.
was no recession for people with a bachelor's degree or more and no
recovery for those with a high school degree or less," he said.
future jobs in a knowledge-based economy will require some
post-secondary education, such as a certificate, if not a bachelor's
degree, Cummins said. There's already a dearth of qualified applicants
and some companies are having to look outside the country for employees.
doesn't mean the country, and specifically the Mid-Columbia, can't rise
to the challenge, Moo-Young said. WSU Tri-Cities has more than doubled
the number of admissions applications for the next academic year
compared to the current one through student recruiting.
praised the relationship between the university and CBC and the
relationships he's building with other Eastern Washington community
Moo-Young supported Start-Up Weekend, an event in
September that supports designers, developers and others who want to
move forward on a business enterprise, and another is already planned
for March, he said.
The university is also moving forward with
plans to build a "business accelerator" on its north Richland campus,
part of a broader vision for a "Google-like" campus environment.
creating more highly-trained graduates and developing new businesses
and technologies takes money, the officials said. Tuition is one of the
biggest hurdles people have to accessing education, Cummins said.
Moo-Young said his concern is the need for cultural and social
institutions to support the innovators and keep them from fleeing to
cities like Seattle and Portland.
"Our students don't have a place to play," Moo-Young said.
men said they are taking steps to recruit and support students. Cummins
said he's trying to find the money by trimming other parts of the
college's budget. "The challenge is, there isn't any more money (from
the state)," he said.
Private investment is likely what will be
needed to move the Tri-Cities and its institutions forward -- whether
from a growing wine industry, or the development of an "angel investor"
network for the region, Moo-Young said.
"A lot of the things on this list are very doable," Moo-Young said.
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