The Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy (PNCECE), a Centralia College Partnership, is a nationally recognized model that provides strategic coordination for the energy industry’s skilled workforce. It is led by an advisory board that includes regional consumer-owned and investor-owned utilities; a federal power-marketing administration (the Bonneville Power Administration); organized labor; a national laboratory (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory); community and technical colleges and universities; and workforce and economic development councils.

Our Mission

Washington’s Centers of Excellence serve as statewide liaisons to business, industry, and the educational system, providing support for economic development.

Strategic coordination includes:

Washington’s Community & Technical College Energy Technology

The Center works closely with industry and education partners to share industry trends and best practices.

  • Due to the evolution within the industry, the number of energy programs within Washington’s community & technical colleges (CTC) has grown from five in 2005 to 23 today.
  • Each college with an energy program has a specific technology/trade focus: Walla Walla offers wind; Spokane offers lineworker; Shoreline offers solar; Columbia Basin offers nuclear; Centralia offers power plant operations.
  • The Center serves on and presents to many CTC energy advisory committees.
  • CTC energy programs present at the Center’s bi-annual Advisory Board meetings.
  • PNCECE supports the development of new BAS programs related to energy – such as South Seattle College’s BAS in Sustainable Building Science Technology and Cascadia’s BAS in Sustainable Practices.


The Center works closely with industry and research partners, such as WSU Energy Program, to publish best practices and industry trends.

  • The Center offers numerous publications including labor market data, 14 occupational summaries, 18 occupational skill standards, an Energy Education Resource Guide, and countless white papers that support the Pacific Northwest’s energy workforce.
  • It supports energy career awareness through events such as Careers in Energy Week.
  • See more at http://cleanenergyexcellence.org and https://www.facebook.com/pncece.


PNCECE receives operational funding from the state and applies for grants and contracts to support additional programs and projects.

  • The Center has a proven progression of leadership in managing grant funded projects of more than $30 million during an eight-year period.
  • The Center and Centralia College have experienced technical and fiscal staff who have successfully secured and managed large state and federal grants.
  • Such grants include funding from the U.S. Departments of: Labor, Energy and Commerce; the National Science Foundation; and industry contracts such as Northwest Energy Efficiency Taskforce (NEET).
  • See more at http://cleanenergyexcellence.org/about/doe-grant-information/


PNCECE is charged with sharing industry trends and best practices through local, statewide, regional and national conferences, presentations and workshops.

  • Publications, such as skill standards/profiles, education resource guides, newsletters and labor market studies are available online and in hardcopy formats.
  • Visit cleanenergyexcellence.org/resources to view energy industry publications and resources.

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What is a Center of Excellence?

COE News

COE History

In 2004/05, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges selected 10 Centers of Excellence to serve as economic development drivers for the state’s leading industries.

The Centers, which were placed on college campuses through a competitive application process, were codified into state statute in 2008 (WA HB1323) making Washington the only state in the country to have centers designated through legislation.

Centers serve as a point-of-contact and resource hub for industry trends, best practices, innovative curriculum, and professional development opportunities.

Guided by industry, the Centers have become a national model for their impact on workforce education, ties to industry, and regional outreach. The Centers’ core expectations include:

Economic Development Focus:

Serve as partners with various state and local agencies, regional, national, and global organizations to support economic vitality and competitiveness in Washington’s driver industries.

Industry Sector Strategy Focus:

Collaboratively build, expand and leverage industry, labor and community and technical college partnerships to support and promote responsive, rigorous, and relevant workforce education and training.

Education, Innovation and Efficiency Focus:

Leverage resources and educational partnerships to create efficiencies and support development of curriculum and innovative delivery of educational strategies to build a diverse and competitive workforce.

Workforce Supply/Demand Focus:

Research, analyze and disseminate information related to training capacity, skill gaps, trends, and best practices within each industry sector to support a viable new and incumbent workforce.

The 10 Washington Centers of Excellence: