Article via Nisqually Valley News
By Daniel Warn
Michael Grayum, Yelm city administrator, was on a mission last week.
It was a mission to establish a South Puget Sound Community College Extension in Yelm for continuing education courses. Without too much wining and dining, he succeeded on what he set out to do.
Along with some colleagues, Heidi Andrade — director of business and strategic programming for South Puget Sound Community College’s corporate and continuing education department — agreed to meet with Grayum last week to discuss the possibility of continuing education in Yelm.
Grayum said he took Andrade and company to see multiple sites where the continuing education courses could be located, like the soon-to be vacant city hall building or the Yelm Community Center, among other places. He also took them to a Yelm Chamber of Commerce luncheon to show them what the city has to offer and to highlight some of the businesses that could be helped from continuing education in Yelm.
Andrade and her fellows, including the president of the college, decided that the Yelm Community Center would be the best option for classes, and she said she informed Grayum that continuing education in the building would start this winter.
Currently, though, the project is in its “discovery phase,” meaning that South Puget Sound Community College is still looking for course ideas that will be a good fit for Yelm, Andrade said. She already has existing professors that live in the area, so she will ask them if they will teach a course or two. Specifically, Andrade said she could bring photography and writing to Yelm.
However, Grayum said he wants the people of Yelm to tell him what kind of courses they want to take. He is interested in which businesses would benefit from their employees taking which courses. These classes could be in business, marketing, communications or something else entirely.
Echoing this sentiment, Andrade said that she will be connecting further with the Yelm Chamber of Commerce to see if any of the qualified people in the group want to teach what they know. She said she wanted to find experts in Yelm to step up and help enhance the knowledge of its citizens.
“My hope is that there will be a local movement in Yelm toward using expertise that is already there to teach others in the city,” Andrade said.
Grayum said he also worked with Yelm Community Schools throughout the process, especially when they were establishing the High School 21+ program and the South Puget Sound Community College campus at the high school.