May 3, 2012

By Contributor

Community college   support helps Newcastle

I am a member of the Renton Technical Foundation Board. We raise scholarship monies for students who otherwise would not be able to complete their job training programs.

Until recently, I did not realize the important connection between Renton Technical College and the economic development potential of Newcastle.

The college offers 36 associate degrees, 11 associate transfer degrees and 61 professional certificates. It is an open enrollment school, has one of the highest student completion rates in Washington and tuition is about one-third the cost of a four-year public university.

Of those who attend the college, 74.3 percent are there for workforce training purposes. Most importantly, RTC graduates have a 76 percent job placement rate!

During this economic downturn, many have turned to the college for workforce training or retraining in new careers. Conversely, state government has reduced funding to community colleges for the fourth year in a row, requiring tuition increases.

Many RTC students are living in poverty and need job skills training to achieve living-wage jobs. Foundation scholarships enable many to complete their certificate or degree programs.

I attended a recent seminar about strategies to attract and retain economic development in cities. The presenters surveyed businesses and scored factors that were most important in choosing cities for new business placement. One of the top four factors was the availability of an appropriately trained labor force and the importance of nearby community colleges in providing that labor force.

Newcastle is in the RTC service area. Our economic development potential is enhanced by the availability of these trained graduates: workers for new businesses, such as restaurants, dental, medical, ophthalmology and accounting offices, auto repair shops, banks and daycare centers; in the fields of computer consulting and appliance repair; and to work as electricians, legal assistants, office assistants, etc.

By helping RTC students we are advancing our own community. The Newcastle economic development team should champion the quality workforce provided by RTC as one reason businesses should locate in Newcastle.

Support the Foundation in providing scholarships by calling Susanna Williams at 235-2356, or donate at www.rtc.edu/foundation.

Carol Simpson, Newcastle

Renton Technical Foundation Board member

Issaquah residents care for the district’s youth

Volunteers for Issaquah Schools wants to thank the Issaquah School District community for passing the maintenance and construction bond.

Each community has its own set of priorities. This community demonstrated that education is a top priority by approving the maintenance and construction bond during challenging economic times with a 70 percent yes vote.

We are honored to live in and be a part of a community that holds the education of its youth as a high priority. Your investment in our youth will pay off for years to come. Thank you again for investing in our youth and reaffirming the deep commitment this community has to education.

Lesley Austin

VIS Board


Bond vote will ensure students have safe,   high-quality schools

A huge thank you to the Issaquah School District voters for resoundingly passing the construction and maintenance bond last week!

It makes me extremely proud to serve in a community that values education and the future of its children so much — you are unparalleled in this state and nation. Because of you, we will be able to meet our critical construction and repair needs for the next eight years, ensuring students are learning in safe, high-quality schools equipped for 21st-century learning.

My commitment is to be the best steward possible for these dollars, completing projects on time and on — or under — budget, protecting our top credit rating, and remaining transparent throughout the construction process (look for a webpage soon that will track our progress).

My sincerest appreciation also goes to Volunteers for Issaquah Schools. These volunteer community members — hundreds of them! — dedicated themselves to spreading information about the bond measure so voters could make an informed choice. For some, it was a full-time job; for others, they gave one or two hours when they could, honking and waving, or simply placing a bus magnet on their vehicle. Regardless, each and every one of them made a tremendous difference!

Dr. Steve Rasmussen, 


Issaquah School District

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