Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
Trade School Opportunities Continue to Grow in the Yakima Valley. The Yakima Valley Technical Skills Center (YV-Tech) is enjoying a $23 million growth spurt. The Yakima facility is looking to double in size this year from 41,000 to 106,000 square feet. In addition, a new satellite campus in Sunnyside is estimated to cost an additional $6 million dollars and will break ground this spring.
The lower valley campus will start by offering four or five programs. State funding is paying for both expansion projects. YV Tech is a technical, trade-focused high school run by the Yakima School District currently has a student population of 800. When the Yakima facility’s expansion opens in the fall of 2013 they will be able to accommodate 1,000 students. Classes at YV Tech run the gamut from auto and computer technology, culinary arts, digital media, firefighting and training for skills necessary for working in legal and medical offices. “It’s a Running Start program for the trades and technology,” said YV-Tech’s Director Craig Dwight. The school curriculum brings a real world experience into the classroom whenever possible.
The culinary program will get a big boost from the expansion, which will feature a $1 million state-of-the-art kitchen and a conference center than can seat up to 200 people for formal events. The school will be able to rent out the space, giving its students hands-on catering experience. Other popular programs include automotive technology, culinary arts, cosmetology, Microsoft information technology and a wide variety of health occupations. Students come from 16 high schools between Ellensburg and Prosser, but any student between the ages of 16-20 are eligible to attend the free programs. Students split their time between high school and YV-Tech and must meet the state graduation requirements. “Our programs all have college credit attached,” noted Dwight. “The different [between high school and us] is a kid at a high school may take a one-hour shop class; this is a three-hour shop class.”
For more information about YV Tech, visit their website