UW Tacoma launches professional development center

The University of Washington Tacoma has launched a new professional development center, supported by a $500,000 gift, which increases the campus’ ability to respond to higher-level educational needs in the region.

The KeyBank Professional Development Center opened for business this month with the arrival of Alice Dionne, who will direct operations of this new continuing education resource at UW Tacoma.

The center will offer upper-division and graduate-level workshops and courses to the public, as well as develop customized courses and conferences.

Educational programming will be designed to enhance the skills and qualifications of employees and potential employees of South Puget Sound public and private businesses and agencies.

Initially the focus will be on business and technology, although eventually the program will grow to offer a whole range of subjects.

“What actual courses and programs are offered by the KeyBank Professional Development Center will depend upon the needs of the community,” Dionne said. “I see this as a service center for the university and the community. We’ll schedule activities based on what we hear from the public.”

Anyone with requests for specific professional training should call the center, Dionne said.

The center expands UW Tacoma’s ability to offer access to educational programs that, until now, have focused primarily on students pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Key and the Dimmer Family Foundation each contributed $250,000 to help establish the Professional Development Center, which will become self-supporting within two years.

“I think we have a good chance of success here,” Dionne said. “This campus is growing so rapidly.”

The center, named for KeyBank, is a good match for the financial institution.

“Key has a long-standing commitment to investing in education,” said Jim Washam, Key’s South Puget Sound District President. “We believe it’s one of the most vital contributions we, as a bank, can make to the communities we serve, and we are delighted to be able to partner with the Dimmer Family Foundation for such a worthy cause.”

The Dimmer Family Foundation and KeyBank co-sponsor many events in the South Puget Sound region. John C. Dimmer is a former KeyCorp Director and current member of Key’s South Puget Sound District Advisory Board.

“The gift from Key and the Dimmer Family Foundation allows us to expand the reach not only of UW Tacoma’s new Institute of Technology and Business Administration, but all of our academic programs,” said Vicky Carwein, chancellor of UW Tacoma. “We are excited to have a director on board and to begin seeing this new resource take shape.”

The KeyBank Professional Development Center’s Web site is: