Pierce College in Lakewood will be one of 12 new colleges and universities to begin offering on-line courses in 2003 through eArmyU, the U.S. Army’s largest e-learning virtual university program with more than 30,000 enrolled soldiers. Pierce College will be one of 32 institutions of higher education offering on-line college level courses to U.S. Army personnel throughout the world, according to IBM Business Consulting Services, which operates eArmyU.  Pierce College is the only education institute in Washington state to partner with IBM to help the U.S. Army supply long-distance learning and higher education quickly and efficiently to soldiers at home and abroad.  

“I’m very excited by this announcement and want to congratulate Pierce College for taking on this opportunity that will only add to the economic development momentum for this area.  This is a natural pairing for Washington state.  Pierce College is a terrific educational institution located in our state and they have demonstrated a tremendous commitment over the years to the military community.  Pierce has also been a leader in using technology to deliver quality education and I think that they are in a terrific position to work with this program,” said Smith.  “The eArmyU program helps ensure that our soldiers are the most highly skilled, intelligent fighting force in the world.  At a time when recruitment and retention are more important than ever, eArmyU also offers current soldiers, and those considering a career in the Army, a great incentive to stay in the Army.  In February, Fort Lewis became one of the newest eArmyU sites, and with Pierce College’s affiliation with eArmyU our local soldiers will have more options and greater access to quality education.  This is a great opportunity both for Pierce College and for the local military community.”  

eArmyU offers soldiers a free online education in exchange for their continued enlistment.  The program offers educational opportunities from a diverse consortium of colleges, universities and technical schools linked by computer technology. Soldiers can access on-line courseware anytime, anywhere so that deployments overseas would not interfere with their progress towards technical certification, associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees.  As part of the program, each soldier is issued a tech package consisting of a laptop computer, printer, Internet access and technical support. 

The academic institutions chosen will offer more than 3,000 courses and more than 150 academic degree programs, tripling the degree programs since eArmyU’s inception.  eArmyU has delivered educational opportunities online to more than 30,500 enlisted soldiers since the program began in January 2001 and will enroll approximately 80,000 soldiers by 2005 at military installations around the world. The program is accessed at www.earmyu.com.

For more information on Pierce College’s acceptance into the eArmyU program, contact Dale Stowell at (253) 964-6780 or dstowell@pierce.ctc.edu and for information on eArmyU, contact Judy Welles at (703) 516-8626 or judith.welles@us.ibm.com