By Rachel Webber, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. – There’s a growing demand for graduates in agriculture, and students who invest two years at Walla Walla Community College or Yakima Valley Community College can transfer to several ag degree programs at Washington State University.
The latest collaboration builds a bridge from Walla Walla’s enology and viticulture program or Yakima’s vineyard technology program to the viticulture and enology program at WSU Tri-Cities and WSU Pullman. The partnership provides a geographic advantage for students seeking hands-on experience in the heart of southeast Washington wine country.
“This agreement creates an ideal framework for students to transition seamlessly into WSU’s viticulture and enology program,” said Ted Baseler, president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates near Seattle and a member of the WSU Board of Regents.
“The Washington wine industry contributes $8 billion to the state’s economy,” he said, “and a vital component for sustaining this success is the graduates who are trained to support our grape and wine industries.”
Learning at Wine Science Center
Students who begin at YVCC or WWCC and transfer to WSU in the next several years will be some of the first to experience their education at the WSU Wine Science Center. Research and teaching at the center will be specific to the challenges and opportunities faced by grape-growers and wine-makers in the Pacific Northwest.
When the center opens in early 2015, it will be the most technologically advanced wine research and education center in the world.
“This provides a great educational opportunity for students in agriculture and viticulture and enology and the educated workforce the industry needs,” said Thomas Henick-Kling, director of the WSU viticulture and enology program. “I am excited about our partnership with WWCC and YVCC and the articulation agreements signed.”
Students gain research, industry perspectives
Additional ag-related transfer agreements from Walla Walla Community College to WSU include:
• Water resources technology to ag technology and production management
• Agricultural business to ag and food business economics
• Ag science and technology and plant and soil science to field crop management
• Turf management to turfgrass management.
“Students who start their educational career at WWCC are saving a significant amount of tuition money while taking advantage of our unique hands-on teaching approach and learning from instructors with a diverse perspective on industry,” said Jessica Gilmore, dean of WWCC.
“The partnership with WSU provides students the opportunity to learn from both practitioners and researchers in their field while gaining the necessary skills to qualify for high demand, high paying jobs.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. is expected to employ approximately 42,000 people in agricultural and food science fields by 2022.
More partnerships in the works
The unique relationship between the colleges and university has established a streamlined pathway for the transition.
“We’ve worked with students from both WWCC and YVCC who are starting their careers at WSU, and knowing that our courses align has made the transition effortless,” said WSU academic advisor Cristie Crawford.
Crawford said further partnerships with YVCC, Wenatchee Valley College, Columbia Basin College and South Seattle Community College are also under way.
Learn more about Yakima Valley Community College at http://www.yvcc.edu/Pages/default.aspx. Learn more about Walla Walla Community College at http://www.wwcc.edu/CMS/. Learn more about the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at http://www.cahnrs.wsu.edu.
Cristie Crawford, WSU academic advisor, 509-335-8406, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsay Lightner, WSU Tri-Cities academic advisor, 509-372-7366, email@example.com