North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Manufacturing classes coming to Arlington


Christopher Andersson

Weston High School, where Everett Community College's summer courses in manufacturing will take place.

Everett Community College will be providing manufacturing classes in Arlington this summer in what could be the first step toward more post-high school education access in the area.

In a partnership between Everett Community College, the city of Arlington and the Arlington School District, the college will be using some unused space at Weston High School to provide manufacturing instruction.

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert hopes this can lead to better access to post-high school options in Arlington.

"One of the first things I noticed when I became mayor was that we have too high a percentage of students graduating from our excellent school district and not making their way to higher education or other opportunities," she said.

Bringing these options closer to Arlington will likely lead to better outcomes for students, said Amie Verellen-Grubbs, director of career readiness and innovative programing at the Arlington School District.

"From strictly a school district perspective, the more we connect post-high school options to our schools, the more our students are likely to go into high-paying jobs or just do something after high school, whether that be trade schools or apprenticeships, or something else," she said.

After Tolbert and other Arlington officials toured Everett Community College's AMTEC (Advanced Manufacturing and Training Education Center), they hoped to bring something like that to the area.

AMTEC was already being used by some local businesses to train their employees, said Tolbert, and with the need for post-high school options and the manufacturing employers already in the town, it seemed like a good fit, she said.

Everett Community College's service area stretches from the northern county line to the northern end of Lynnwood, said vice-president of the college John Bonner.

"We're committed to the various areas in that community and to providing access to higher education to all those areas," he said.

The college already has an east county extension and other training locations north of Everett in various fields like cosmetology.

After working with Arlington officials, Bonner agreed that if they could find the space the college could provide the instruction.

"It's good to have these programs where they're needed. There's a direct economic benefit for the community and its more accessible to local residents," said Bonner.

Verellen-Grubbs said these classes are also good exposure for the students at Weston High School.

"Our students who are at Weston High School, a lot of them have never thought college was a possibility, just because of finances and transportation and other issues," she said. "It helps de-mystify what college is and gives them an opportunity post-high school."

The classes this summer are potentially just the first part of an expansion into the area, said Bonner. They serve to "get a footprint" into Arlington.

"We have a collective vision of building something bigger," said Bonner.

"Ultimately, the dream is that this will be the start here and we can bring more capacity," said Tolbert.

A facility that can provide a true extension of the college for the north Snohomish County area lacks funding at the moment though.

Verellen-Grubbs said that this is one of the rare times that three organizations came together for the same goal.

"Working with Everett Community College and the city has been an amazing display of teamwork," she said.


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