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Up close with Skills Center and communities

11:03 am November 29th, 2013

By Randi Becker
As anyone who has heard me talk about the subject will tell you, I am passionate about skills centers, and particularly the one here in Pierce County. I refer to the Pierce County Skills Center (PCSC) as “Lucky Number 13” because it was the 13th one in our state. The development of the facility is an ongoing process, and on Oct. 23 I took part in a ceremony celebrating the opening of the latest phase of its construction and the groundbreaking of the next.
Skills centers are a crucial part of our state’s education system. By providing high school students with vocational skills, they can help foster academic achievement and raise graduation rates.
The first phase of the PCSC opened in 2010 and featured classes in disciplines such as criminal justice, computer science and medical careers. The second phase was built in two parts and focused on aerospace, construction trades and automotive technology. Future phases will add culinary classes and expand medical offerings.
When I spoke with students enrolled at PCSC, one of the things they were really excited about is the opportunity to apply the abstract concepts they learn in science or math classes to real-world situations. I think that’s pretty darn cool. I’ve been proud to support the development of this facility, and I will work to see it through to completion.
For me, the highlight of the legislative interim has been the opportunity to connect with my friends and neighbors in our Second District to hear your thoughts on state government. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in community meetings in Lacey, Yelm, Orting, Eatonville and Graham, just to name a few. It isn’t just about hearing what’s going well – we often talk about what needs to be improved. Your feedback is crucial to me so I can be sure I’m representing you accurately in Olympia.
One of the recent meetings I attended was the transportation “listening tour” forum in Tacoma. This was part of the 10-city tour led by the Senate’s bipartisan coalition. I sincerely appreciate everyone from our region who attended and shared your thoughts. There are some major decisions to be made about how to best move our state’s transportation system forward; as new developments are available, I will be sure to share them with you.
Looking ahead, I am excited to again have the opportunity in November to visit a classroom in the Bethel School District to observe a lesson being taught. This has been a valuable experience for me in the past, and I can’t wait to meet with more faculty and students.

Randi Becker, a Republican from the Eatonville area, is the Second District’s state senator.

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