A student team from WSU North Puget Sound at Everett participated in an engineering competition.

A student team from WSU North Puget Sound at Everett participated in an engineering competition.

Washington state and industry leaders are calling for more graduates in computer science and engineering as the industry looks for workers highly skilled in technology in the Puget Sound area.

Answering the need, and with state support, WSU is increasing its computer science and electrical engineering programs at both WSU North Puget Sound at Everett and at Olympic College in Bremerton. Starting in 2016, WSU software engineering and data analytics programs will be offered in Everett. Meanwhile, a new electrical engineering degree will be offered at Olympic College.

WSU’s North Puget Sound at Everett program has grown to more than 150 students since getting underway in 2010 with a mechanical engineering program. WSU was given management and leadership responsibilities at Everett with a focus on programs in science, technology, engineering and math. An electrical engineering program got started in 2014.

A new 95,000-square-foot building on the campus is under construction and set to open by 2017. The $54.6 million project will include classrooms and laboratories, offices, and a public gathering space. Meanwhile, interest in the programs is growing dramatically. The programs even have fledgling professional student clubs.

The Bremerton program has also grown since its start in 2010 when the state legislature, citing the need for engineers in the region, provided support. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is a major employer in the area.

Both the Everett and Bremerton programs allow students to complete their WSU degrees while taking classes near their homes. They address two major concerns for the state by providing more affordable and accessible higher education options for students and more engineers and computer scientists who are critically needed for the state’s economy.

The programs include a combination of local and Pullman-based faculty with courses originating at the local and Pullman location. Students follow WSU’s semester system and pay WSU tuition rates. Several classes are broadcasted via video from Pullman, and students are required to take some laboratory classes on the Pullman campus during the summer. Upon graduation, they will have fulfilled WSU’s School of EECS degree requirements.