New higher education center, The Hub, opens in Federal Way

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Access to higher education has just come closer to Federal Way.

The Hub: Federal Way Higher Education Center, located at 1615 S. 325th St., houses two classrooms, a computer lab, study spaces, offices and more. The new campus opened on Monday September 27.

A partnership with Highline College, University of Washington Tacoma, City of Federal Way, and Federal Way Public Schools brought The Hub to life, as well as improved local access to higher education at Federal Way.

The Hub provides post-secondary and adult education to Federal Way and surrounding communities.

Traditionally, educational institutions have expected students to be college ready, but “we are reversing that and recognizing that there is a whole variety of people approaching higher education,” he said. said Tammy Hauge, program manager at The Hub.

As a “student-ready institution,” education and city partners meet people where they are to help them move forward and achieve their goals.

In 2016, the city released a Higher Education Needs Assessment report, which found there was a lack of higher education among people 25 and older in the community, Hauge said. Although high school graduation rates are higher in Federal Way than in surrounding cities, residents of Federal Way hold a lower number of bachelor’s degrees.

In a city of about 100,000 people, only about 27% of the Federal Way population aged 25 or older has a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the United States Census Bureau.

One of The Hub’s goals is to strengthen the needs of businesses in the region and provide educational opportunities to a range of community members, which could lead to the addition of high paying jobs to the Federal Way economy going forward, Hauge said.

The Hub also recognizes the educational needs of people outside the age group in this study: adult learners, English language learners, people new to higher education, first generation students and beginning students, among others.

The new campus wants to be a flexible institution capable of fine-tuning its education offerings as programs and community interest grows, Hauge said.

“We try to be as holistic as possible,” she said. “We want to be able to meet the needs of the community.

As a first step, the site will offer support services to Highline College students, such as general admission, counseling and help with registration. In the future, The Hub will offer credit courses; short-term certificate courses in early childhood education, health care and informatics; English language learning and adult education courses; and UW Tacoma professional development courses, according to the website.

Tuition and fees will depend on the partner offering the courses or program that the individual is pursuing. Students can also be supported through financial aid opportunities.

As of 2021, Highline College tuition is around $ 4,230 per year and UW Tacoma tuition is around $ 11,889, according to the institutions’ websites for costs. in force in the state.

“We have always viewed Federal Way as a valuable partner in our mission to expand access to higher education,” said former University of Washington Tacoma Chancellor Mark Pagano.

Access should not be limited by city limits or traffic jams, he added.

“The Southern Strait is emerging as the next hotspot of economic prosperity in the Puget Sound region, and UW Tacoma is proud to work with all of our partners to achieve this vibrant future together. ”

The city had previously considered placing an institution of higher education near the Performing Arts and Event Center in downtown Federal Way, but a change in rental agreements led to its location along the Pacific Highway South. .

For projects where the college needs to lease space, research and negotiations are carried out with the Washington State Department of Business Services (DES), said Michael Pham, vice president of administrative services at the Highline Middle School.

“We looked at several potential properties. There is one that we have entered into negotiations that was not successful due to costs and rental conditions, ”said Pham. “So we worked with the City of Federal Way to identify other potential properties until we found one that worked for all parties involved.”

As a stand-alone building, The Hub measures 7,300 square feet and about twice the size of previous spaces the partners were looking at, Hauge said.

In a way, Federal Way residents have the opportunity to lead the Hub’s path as partners strive to meet people where they are.

“It’s super exciting,” Hauge said of the project coming to fruition. “I know this space has a ton of potential for whatever it can be… and we’re open to redefining what the Hub will become once we get to know the community.”

For more information on The Hub, visit fwhub.org.



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