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Individualized Programs (IP)

An Individualized Program is an employer-driven model that connects college-level training to employers with openings for entry-level jobs at family-sustaining wage levels, but without enough employment demand to warrant a dedicated college program. The Workforce Board sees this as an important innovation in boosting training that is directly connected to employment. IP is part of the Retooling Washington's Workforce initiative.

In this model, college students and staff work with local businesses and workforce development agencies to combine traditional classroom curriculum and workplace learning to certify student competency. The business serves as the primary training site providing technical education, equipment and expertise. Students also complete general education courses on campus. The entire program is usually about 45 credits, and is completed in 3-4 quarters. Lower Columbia College has proven the effectiveness of this program model.

Creating a statewide model and how-to manual
In 2011, the Workforce Board contracted with College Brain Trust Consultants to see if this model could be implemented at community and technical colleges around the state based on the model created at Lower Columbia College in Longview. Since then, a guide book that lays out essential elements, practical tips and governing rules on how to create an IP was created and was distributed statewide. The contractors also reached out to colleges and coached them on how to set up their own programs. Originally, the IP was dubbed an Individualized Certificate Program (ICP), as is the case at Lower Columbia College. However, some institutions expresed interest in creating programs leading to an Associate's Degree so the name was changed to encompass this higher-level credential.

New Individualized Programs on the horizon
Several colleges have expressed interest in creating IPs in conjuction with their local business community. Spokane Community College started a program in composites in the fall of 2012. Centralia College has three IP programs in conjunction with Lower Columbia College. The leader in IP development continues to be Lower Columbia College, which boasts 18 different IP programs, ranging from accounting clerk to weatherization field technician.

Contact: Bryan Wilson, bwilson@wtb.wa.gov

Lower Columbia College's ICP

Retooling Washington's Workforce

Essential Elements of Creating an IP (PDF)


"It's very structured and includes a variety of learning objectives. It's not just on-the-job training. It actually results in a credential."
Diane Troyer
College Brain Trust Consultants

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