UW Tacoma teams with Army for service, education

The U.S. Army will provide the University of Washington Tacoma with students for the school’s new Institute of Technology in the first such community partnership in the nation.
In return, the Army will promote UW Tacoma and the Institute of Technology to its soldiers.
The agreement is designed to also benefit the local economy in terms of providing workers for the state’s technology industries.
At a ceremony on the campus of UW Tacoma yesterday, representatives from UW Tacoma, United States Army Recruiting Command, Pierce College and South Sound business organizations signed a first-of-its-kind agreement to cooperate in the statewide effort to recruit individuals who wish to serve in the Army, earn a degree at UW Tacoma and then enter the workforce in Washington state.
Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, who heads the Army’s recruiting efforts from Fort Knox, Ky., referred to the alliance as a “strategic partnership.”
“I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be here,” Rochelle said. “It’s historic. It’s visionary.”
Historically speaking, education has often been seen as the antithesis of military service, he noted, a reference to the fact that colleges and the military often saw each other as rivals in getting talented young people to join their ranks.
“Today, everyone realizes we’re after the same thing,” Rochelle stated – that is, providing leadership and job skills to young people.
“This particular partnership takes it to a whole new level,” Rochelle said. “ We must be in partnership.”
The agreement is meant to provide opportunities for a university degree and employment at the time of enlistment in the Army.
Washington residents can now enter the Army through a new pathway that leads to enrollment at the Institute of Technology at the UW Tacoma, then to businesses already interested in interviewing them for jobs upon graduation.
The agreement is designed to reduce or eliminate financial need as a barrier to higher education, while ensuring talented residents who enlist in the Army return to the state after their tour of duty is complete.
Through the new program, soldiers receive academic advising in taking courses that will transfer toward a bachelor’s degree through the Institute of Technology, while earning the first two years of their degree through Army education programs as they serve across the globe.
Soldiers at Ft. Lewis can complete some or all of this work at Pierce College or other UW Tacoma partner institutions.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland Washington developed the agreement based on Army recruiting research that shows increased need for educated and technology savvy soldiers.
UW Tacoma was selected by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Army as this test bed due to the national reputation of the University of Washington, the importance of the military to the state, and the role of the Institute of Technology in growing fast to meet high tech needs when established by the Legislature and Gov. Gary Locke in 2001.
“It’s another first for UWT,” said UW Tacoma Chancellor Vicky Carwein of the pilot program. “We certainly look forward to its success.”
David Graybill, president and CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, called it a “win-win-win-win situation.”
The agreement benefits young people, the military, education and employers, he explained.
“This is an ideal marriage we celebrate today,” Graybill said.
In addition to Rochelle, Carwein and Graybill, other signatories to the agreement include Pierce College President Steve Wall; Harry Thacker, administrative director, Tacoma News Tribune; and Bruce Kendall, president and CEO, Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board.