Heritage University’s HU105 program, a teacher-training program, is expanding to the Tri-Cities.

The Toppenish-based school announced Tuesday that it will add the Richland School District in the Tri-Cities to its list of participating school districts starting in the fall.

Currently, HU105 places its students in four Yakima Valley districts: Yakima, Toppenish, Grandview and Mabton.

“We are very excited to bring HU105 to Richland,” said Assistant Superintendent Erich Bolz in a statement.

“Not only will it be terrific for the classrooms that have HU105 candidates in them, but the teachers that graduate from the program are extremely talented and will likely stay in the Richland School District once they graduate.”

The HU105 program started in 2010 under a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education but is expected to be self-sufficient by the end of the time period.

The students work in groups of three and are supervised by a certified teacher.

The students spend between a year and a half to two years in elementary and middle school classrooms, a substantially longer stay than a typical student teacher placement.

According to Heritage, more than 97 percent of last year’s participants are currently working as classroom teachers.

They also graduate with an English Language Learner endorsement.