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Viewpoint: CWI growing to meet student and employer needs

The College of Western Idaho has three major projects in the works to grow and centralize its Nampa campus.

BOISE, Idaho — The College of Western Idaho opened its doors in 2009. It is now the largest community college in Idaho, serving more than 30,000 students.

A CWI spokesman said the college continues to grow, evolve and innovate to meet the needs of students and fill the workforce needs of Idaho employers.

The college offers 118 associate degree and certificate programs. Those include new additions, such as Applied Technology and Apprenticeship, Biotechnology Laboratory Assistant, Healthcare Management and Medical Assistant.

To meet future needs, CWI leaders are working to grow and centralize the 140-acre Nampa campus, which right now, has only one building. 

Planning is underway on three major projects; the new Health Science Building is in the design and engineering phase, an expansion of the agriculture program is in the works, and leaders are requesting funding from the legislature for a new Student Learning Hub.

"Ultimately, the real goal is where do we have what I call 'co-located learning,'" CWI President Gordon Jones said. "There's value to have classrooms, facilities, resources that are on one campus, and that's the vision the Nampa campus at 140 acres. Think of it as kind of the main campus, largest footprint. That's where our health sciences, our agriculture/horticulture, academic learning, people who want to be juniors in college. Bringing them all together is really the vision so that they can benefit from the classroom environment, bumping into classmates, and today that's a little harder to do that with our distributed model across so many facilities."

The College of Western Idaho also entered a partnership with Micron to help provide up to 1,000 technician employees when the company's new memory fabrication facility opens in Boise.

On this edition of Viewpoint, CWI President Gordon Jones also talks about Gov. Brad Little's plan to give Idaho high school seniors $8,500 grants to go to college, career technical school or a workforce training program, and CWI's potential role in teaching those students. 

He also explains what makes community colleges more affordable than four-year schools.

Viewpoint airs on Sundays at 9 a.m. on KTVB Idaho's NewsChannel 7.

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