CWU News

GEARUP for Washington Business Week at CWU

Central Washington University has geared up to host Washington Business Week (WBW) students for the 40th consecutive year. The annual summer program (July 25-29), sponsored by the Association of Washington Business, helps high school students prepare to enter the workforce through teaching them business skills, while instilling in them the confidence and honing the values they need to succeed.

WBW serves more than 3,000 teens annually, from throughout the state, through summer camps and in-school community programs. They feature businesses leaders and working professionals, from a variety of careers such as advanced business, construction, healthcare, and manufacturing.

In Ellensburg this year, about 190 students will be involved in a program that will feature agriculture and energy tracks. Many of them are from GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) from the Brewster, Easton, Highland, Lake Chelan, Manson, Omak, Oroville, Quincy, Richland, Tonasket, and Wenatchee school districts.

The CWU GEAR-UP partnership serves 5,400 middle and high school students in those school districts.

“I came from a small, rural town (Easton)—like our GEAR UP students—when I attended Business Week in 1979,” noted Tracy Plouse, CWU GEAR UP project director. “Business Week showed me the possibilities of a business career and the importance of higher education. It had a major impact on my decision to attend CWU, where I graduated with a business degree in 1985. I’m excited for this opportunity to have our GEAR UP students attend and the similar impact I know that it will make in their lives.”

Former CWU President Jim Brooks was instrumental in the development of Business Week. He brought together state business and education leaders for discussions on why high school students were graduating without critical skills that employers were seeking. Those discussions led to the inaugural WBW, held at CWU in 1976.

This year’s 40th anniversary will be marked by a Friday (July 29) ceremony at noon in the CWU Student Union and Recreation Center Ballroom.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,

July 26, 2016