From Washington state to the world

Lake Washington Institute of Technology, in Kirkland's Totem Lake area, serves local students from King and Snohomish counties, commuter students from areas like Port Townsend, Gig Harbor and Marysville, and international students from around the globe, including Japan, Tonga, Ireland, Indonesia, and the Ukraine.

It began in 1949

Originally Lake Washington Vocational Technical Institute, the college began serving the greater Eastside in 1949. Beginning with only a sewing course, the institute grew steadily to include vocational programs in trade and industry, office technology, distributive and marketing education, medical, consumer and homemaking education, adult education, community service and community education classes.

From 1949 to 1991, the Lake Washington School District offered these many and varied programs and classes through the institute in facilities located throughout the District. In 1978, local taxpayers gave a resounding commitment of their support to vocational education by passing a bond issue for the construction of a new vocational facility. The main campus in Kirkland opened in 1983. It is centrally located with good public access and houses nearly all of the current vocational training programs.

Three acts

In its early years, the institute operated primarily as an adult education center. In 1967, the first of three legislative decisions which were to affect the direction and focus of the Institute was signed into law. The Community College Act created a system of community colleges throughout the state. This act also gave local school districts which were operating vocational-technical institutes the option to place their institutes in the community college system or have them remain under the direction of the local school board. Lake Washington's directors chose the latter option.

In 1975 the second act, Substitute Senate Bill No. 2463, reiterated that "...existing vocational-technical institutes operating within the secondary school system shall continue to function within the common school system." Further, it created a Commission for Vocational Education which had as one of its major functions, the responsibility for complying with federal guidelines and directives to insure the development and maintenance of a State Plan for Vocational Education.

On May 17, 1991 the third act, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5184, was signed into law, converting the vocational-technical institutes to technical colleges.

Lake Washington Technical College becomes official

Lake Washington Technical College officially became part of the new community and technical college system on September 1, 1991; the institute became a degree-granting technical college with all the rights and responsibilities of a technical college as prescribed by state law. During the next three years the college replaced its two-year diplomas with Associate of Applied Science degrees. Twenty Associate of Applied Science degrees were approved by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges to be offered to students by the college.

A new era: Lake Washington Institute of Technology

On April 18, 2011, Governor Christine Gregoire signed Substitute Senate Bill 5664 to change the name of Lake Washington Technical College to Lake Washington Institute of Technology, effective July 22, 2011.

We remain dedicated to our mission - preparing students for today's careers and tomorrow's opportunities. We will retain our dedication to workforce development and continue to be engaged in high quality, hands-on education that serves the needs of Washington's citizens. We remain a state college and a part of the community & technical college system.

The new name recognizes that we have become a more comprehensive technical college and gives us the opportunity to enhance our impact on technical education and serve as a polytechnic in support of Washington industry. We will continue to meet the needs of our community by offering students many pathways to achieve their career goals, including certificates, associate and applied bachelor's degrees.

For over 60 years we have been changing lives and helping our graduates and their families achieve a brighter future, and we take the next step in continuing our successful history as Lake Washington Institute of Technology.

Preparing people for employment

Lake Washington Institute of Technology has specific goals and objectives which are designed for the primary purpose of preparing people for employment, career change, or upgrading occupational skills.

All technical courses offer practical, job-related learning experiences and basic education skills which are needed and in demand by the current job market. Most students enroll in courses which operate on an open-entry, open-exit system. Students stay in a course until they are competent in the skills which serve their occupational goals. With this system, the job market is not flooded by large numbers of trainees who finish a program at the same time. Instead, the job market is provided with trained workers on a regular basis.

LWIT also contracts with businesses for specific training

In addition to operating preparatory and supplemental courses, the college contracts with businesses and other agencies to offer technical training. In some cases another agency may offer specialized training courses for the college. The college also contracts to provide specific training courses to the employees of a contracting business. Over the years, the college has developed a myriad of training partnerships with regional businesses designed to deliver specialized training.

Partnerships are created

The college is in partnership not only with business and industry, but also with other parts of the educational system in its service area. Believing that the individual's education is the total of all experiences, the role of the college is to allow the individual to grow vocationally and academically within the framework of personal ambition and ability. An outstanding example of this collaboration is the ongoing operation of Lake Washington Technical Academy (formerly known as Otteson High School). It provides high school students the opportunity to earn a two-year degree, a certificate of merit, and their high school diploma.

Adult education programs offered

The primary purpose of adult education at Lake Washington Institute of Technology is to provide persons over 16 years of age with the opportunity to complete high school education, thereby increasing their opportunities in the job market. Adult Education programs which offer high school completion courses are eligible for state support. Developmental education courses also are available to students in need.

Personal enrichment courses also offered

Lake Washington Institute of Technology also offers personal enrichment courses which are not eligible for state funding. Community service and continuing education classes, offered through Extended Learning, are based on citizen demand.