Whatcom Community College (WCC) has partnered with Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington (TAGNW) for several technology program improvements. Current projects include development of a new Software Development program and refresh of the existing Computer Information Systems program. Our shared goal is to Strengthen Our Technology Community by integrating work-based learning opportunities with academic instruction that results in new, skilled technology professionals in the workforce.

Current Projects

WCC Software Development Career Launch

WCC, with TAGNW supporting, was awarded a Career Connect WA Round 4 Grant in 2020 to develop a new Software Development program. Program development is complete, which included a community input campaign (survey, focus group, and curriculum development workshop) followed by curriculum development. Upon curriculum and accreditation approvals, the first cohort of students will begin the program in Fall 2021.

Thank you to our Industry Partners for their program collaboration, including Alpha Technologies, Emergency Reporting, Faithlife, Koerber Supply Chain, and Samson Rope. Interested for your business to participate? Contact us (below) to become an Industry Partner!

WCC Software Development Career Launch

WCC Computer Information Systems Career Launch

WCC, with TAGNW supporting, was awarded a Career Connect WA Round 5 Grant in 2021 to refresh the existing Computer Information Systems program. Program development launched in May 2021, including a community input campaign (survey and focus group discussion) to be followed by curriculum development. New program elements are expected to be launched in Winter 2022.

Interested for your business to participate? Contact us (below) to become an Industry Partner!

WCC Computer Information Systems Career Launch

Project Priorities

What is Work-Based Learning?

During work-based learning, students gain understanding as they apply classroom knowledge to real-world experience. This approach creates a stronger connection with the knowledge, skills, and qualities of a successful job candidate in demand by employers. To accomplish this outcome, partnerships are established between education institutions, industry employers, and community organizations to arrange work-based learning opportunities for students.

What is Career Launch?

Career Launch is the term used to describe endorsed academic programs that include work-based learning opportunities within their degree. WCC and TAGNW are proud to be awarded a grant from Career Connect Washington to develop the WCC Software Development associate degree as a Career Launch program, pending approval.


Become a Work-Based Learning Partner!

Work-based learning is successful because deep collaborations with partners provide valuable internships and support resources for students. These collaborations provide mutual benefits in learning and recruiting, and help strengthen partnerships between organizations. Partnerships are defined to reflect the function of each organization in the program: community, industry, and education partnerships.

While all partnerships help shape program development based on the contributions and experience of their organization, each type of partnership has a clear focus:

  • Community Partner: Provide programs, services, and/or outreach to increase student success.
  • Industry Partner: Host students for work-based learning opportunities.
  • Education Partner: Align student educational pathways both pre- and post- program.

Why Become an Industry Partner?

Providing work-based learning opportunities for students creates value and benefits to your organization in numerous ways:

  • Screen and grow your pipeline of qualified talent.
  • Increase your visibility for recruitment.
  • Connect with career-minded students.
  • Diversify with new, motivated team members.
  • Contribute to a vibrant local workforce.

How Does it Work?

Work-based learning creates several opportunities for employers and students to interact with varying levels of commitment, including job shadow, internship, and work study:

  • Job Shadow: Host a first year student for an introduction to software development.
  • Internship: Hire a second year student for a meaningful, supervised, on-the job experience.
  • Work Study: Hire a student for part-time employment and receive partial reimbursement.

Reimbursement of Student Wages

Through the federal Work Study program, your organization may be eligible to hire a student for part-time employment and receive partial reimbursement of student wages between 50-75%.

Contact Us

For general inquiries regarding the WCC + TAG Career Launch programs, please contact Michael Gan, Executive Director of TAGNW, at 360-499-2099 or michael.gan@tagnw.org.

For information regarding work-based learning, Work Study reimbursement, and Workforce@Whatcom, please contact Michelle Heitmann, WCC Cooperative Education Program Coordinator, at 360-383-3700 or mheitmann@whatcom.edu.