Washington State House Democrats


Robinson works to secure funding for WSU University Center

Calling the program “particularly important to the aerospace cluster in the Paine Field area,” a new state legislator is working to round up more financial support for the University Center of North Puget Sound — Washington State University’s growing high-tech site in North Everett.

“If we can enhance our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) offerings in that area, it will be a boon to our state’s efforts to keep high-paying engineering and skills jobs in the region,” Rep. June Robinson said in a recent letter addressed to Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, and to Rep. Ross Hunter, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

 Steven M. Herppich
State Rep. June Robinson recently met with WSU President Elson S. Floyd. They discussed the importance of the WSU University Center in North Everett, as well as other issues in higher education.

Robinson later pointed out that the price for rejecting projects such as continuing work on WSU’s University Center will be “seeing these jobs exported to other states and nations.”

The University Center project that Robinson is backing amounts to a $1 million request for the state budget.

“The WSU/Everett site is Washington State’s only presence in the Central Puget Sound region,” she added in the letter.

It’s imperative that the state bolster higher-education in STEM instruction, according to Robinson. “A very good, very appropriate strategy is contained in this proposed funding for more students and additional degree offerings.” WSU is seeking this financial boost as a way to pay for further instruction in the disciplines of:

  • Software engineering.
  • Agriculture/food systems.

“The software engineering will help complement mechanical and electrical engineering programs that are on campus or starting soon,” Robinson explained. More money for the agriculture and food systems “will be a very good fit for the North Snohomish/ Island/Skagit part of the WSU University Center service area.”

WSU/Everett has already started a mechanical-engineering program at the University Center. Electrical engineering, hospitality-business management, and communications classes will start in the fall of 2014.

The two new programs for which Robinson is seeking state-funding help could potentially start up in January 2015.