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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Unleashing the power of career readiness programs

Sponsored content provided by Career Connect Washington

As the new school year begins, local juniors and seniors in the Greater Spokane area find themselves standing at the precipice of their future. And with an increasing demand for post-high school credentials across diverse job sectors, more than ever, it’s necessary for young people to equip themselves with real-world skills that pave the way to accessing opportunities on their own terms. 

Recognizing this pressing need, Career Connect Washington (CCW) and its robust online directory have emerged as strong resources for young people interested in connecting directly to education, credentials, and career opportunities close to home. 

“When we allow students to explore careers at a young age, it helps them to focus on what classes they take in high school,” says Greater Spokane Incorporated’s Career Connect Specialist Matthew Himlie. “It helps them get more of a direction to their life.”

Through delving into career connected learning programs like Spokane’s Business AfterSchool, students can attend workshops that provide hands-on learning in a workplace setting, as well as explore local career pathways by interacting with local business professionals through a series of workshops.

“The benefit the employers get is that their future employees are seeing their names. They’re meeting actual people and starting to build relationships,” Himlie adds. “When they want to go and try an internship, or they want to go look for that first job, one of the things they’re going to think of is… ‘Oh, I’ve heard of Coffman Engineers before. I’m going to go apply there.’ It’s just little things like that.” 

Spokane’s KSPS PBS Television currently offers two career connected learning opportunities for high school students across Spokane, Stevens, and Whitman counties.

The Media Makers internship is a Career Prep program providing high school students with the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in media production. Collaborating with KSPS PBS staff members, paid participants are trained to produce videos for online platforms, social media, and broadcast.

KSPS PBS Station Manager Dawn Bayman was motivated to develop programs for young people at the station because of her direct connection to career connected learning.

“Way back, when I was starting my career, KSPS did high school internships. And I was an intern,” Bayman explains. “Working in the studio every day at KSPS solidified my desire to work in media, and television stations in particular, and that’s what I’ve done my entire career. So it was clear to me that, if there was a way for us to do that again here at KSPS, we ought to jump at it.” Funding from CCW allowed them to do just that.

The second offering, the Career Explore NW virtual tool, was launched by KSPS in 2018 to connect young people with up-to-date industry data and regional career opportunities. Like the CCW Directory, Career Explore NW enables users to learn more about potential career pathways in their backyard via a simple search. Each industry cluster features a collection of videos highlighting different types of jobs available in Northeast Washington, as well as information related to training requirements and average salaries for each career.

This October, KSPS will pilot two new programs. Career Explore NW Live will take students on virtual, behind-the-scenes tours of various industries and feature interactive interviews with working professionals. A hybrid internship program called Media Makers Rural is also launching to reach students at Coville and Garfield-Palouse high schools.

“Once we get this launched, and [get] our students trained, we are just going to have a great increase in our capacity in terms of putting videos out there. Not only on the air but on our digital channels,” Bayman says of growing talent within the region. “The need and the potential are limitless, and we’re only scratching the surface.”

Opportunities for career connected learning opportunities are available year-round. Find a program in health care, clean energy, education, and more on the CCW directory.


To explore career connected learning opportunities available near you, visit the Career Connect Washington Directory at