Kevin Brockbank joined Spokane Community College in 2015 as vice provost. He grew up in Montana and had been working as a dean at Salt Lake Community College before he moved to Spokane.

Brockbank seized the role as acting president at SCC when the job opened up, and he permanently took the role in 2018.

Here are some of his thoughts on the community college system after a couple years on the job.

Washington's strong community college system

National experts frequently praise the community college system in Washington. And Brockbank feels fortunate to be a part of that.

"I came from Montana, and being in a Washington system was always viewed as a real favorable opportunity for me," Brockbank says.

Why is it highly regarded? Mainly, it's because of the historical support from the state legislature — which continued this past legislative session.

"This last session was an example of our elected officials investing in community colleges and the workforce element that helps grow regional economies," Brockbank says.

What may surprise outsiders about SCC

You may know Spokane Community College is one of the largest community colleges in the state. But still, Brockbank things people may not understand how far it reaches.

"I don't think people understand how many programs we have — apprenticeships, IT programs, serving inmates at Airway Heights facilities," he says. "It took a long time to grasp all of what SCC does and how impactful we are to the economy and region. That continues to be one of the things that surprises me."

Budget challenges

When the economy is strong, enrollment is typically down in community colleges, leading to budget issues. Brockbank, however, still says there is value to getting more training at SCC.

Adults returning with a GED but haven't transitioned into college-level coursework would do well to return to SCC, for instance.

"We have a wealth of opportunities for students," he says. "There are different ways for students to get onto campus who have not been successful in higher education in the past."

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.