On July 1, 1996, the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Program opens Salishan Learning Center in Tacoma's east side. The center is part of an effort by WSU to bring the University's services to the people who need them. Students can earn credits towards a bachelor's degree and take a variety of courses such as basic computer skills.
The learning center was a partnership of WSU, Tacoma Community College, Bates Technical College, Clover Park Technical College, the University of Washington, and the Tacoma Housing Authority. Classes were offered in the Salishan Housing Project's Family Investment Center.
By 2003, WSU had 10 learning centers around the state.