Commentary: Trades Training Will Always Be a High Priority at Centralia College


It’s an odd thing I hear from time to time.

Either in person or on social media, someone will snark about Centralia College and say they only support trade schools.

In fact, I’ve seen it a few times in response to these guest editorials.

Well, let me break some big news right here: Centralia College is a trade school.

In 2021, a third of our students were working toward a degree or certificate in one of our dozens of Career and Technical Education programs. Career and Technical Education is how we describe our job training programs, the ones designed to get students into good-paying jobs quickly and efficiently.

Another third were working toward college transfer degrees.

The remaining third were bachelor’s degree students (Centralia College has five bachelor’s degrees) or those working on things like a GED or high school diploma.

In a national survey by a Washington, D.C, think tank ahead of the 2020 election, 83 percent of potential voters surveyed had a positive view of trade schools and community colleges. Support for four-year colleges was lower at 69 percent, but the higher education system as a whole only garnered support from 55 percent of likely voters.

The possible reasons for dwindling public support for higher education are certainly up for debate, but support for community colleges and trade schools has only gotten stronger as more people see the immense value these institutions give to people of all backgrounds and goals.

I believe that part of the reason public support for trade schools is growing across the country — and across party lines — is that these programs are generally affordable and students are provided support and training to achieve employment once they’ve completed their degree or certificate.

That is certainly true at Centralia College, where our diesel techs, welders, nurses, nursing assistants, office and IT professionals, and much more, are finding clear pathways and top-notch support to find and land the jobs they most want.

In 2019-2020, 78 percent of Centralia College students who finished a career and technical program were employed or continuing their education within nine months.

For nursing, that number jumps to 88 percent. It’s clear that trades training at Centralia College is making a huge impact on people’s lives and our communities.

We get amazing feedback from both graduates and employers thanking us for making trades training accessible, affordable, and close to home.

Lewis County is an amazing place to live and work, and it’s no surprise so many local people make the decision to attend Centralia College to learn a trade.

Fall quarter is coming up fast, so if you’ve been considering a trade school for yourself or a loved one, consider Centralia College. Fall classes start Sept. 19 and there’s plenty of time to get started. Trades education will always be a high priority at Centralia College.


Bob Mohrbacher is the president of Centralia College.