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Highline College part of Working Families Success Network strategy expansion

Jack Bermingham - Courtesy photo
Jack Bermingham
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Achieving the Dream today announced a national community college expansion of the Working Families Success Network (WFSN) strategy.

Highline College is one of 16 community colleges in four states that will implement the strategy — used at more than 100 sites in the nation to help low-income individuals and families achieve financial stability — to promote postsecondary completion for students whose economic challenges can thwart their academic and career goals.

The WFSN strategy involves intentionally integrating and sequencing three distinct but related services:

• Education and employment advancement – education, job readiness, training, and placement.

• Income and work supports – access to student financial aid, public benefits, tax credits, and free tax assistance.

• Financial services and asset building – financial education and coaching linked to affordable products and services to help families build self-sufficiency, stabilize their finances, and become more economically competitive.

"We are honored to be chosen as a site for the WFSN expansion," said Highline President Jack Bermingham. "The services promoted by Achieving the Dream are vital pieces to ensuring the professional and personal success of many of our students. Equity and diversity are at the core of Highline's mission, and this program will enable us to better serve the needs of our community."

Highline was selected through a competitive application process that assessed the commitment to racial equity and poverty reduction as well as the college's demonstrated ability to support student success using data-informed decision-making.

The effort is supported with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Lumina Foundation, MetLife Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

"Our goal is to support students who have already taken a big step toward their long-term financial success by addressing the short-term economic challenges that can get in their way," said Rosa Maria Castañeda, a senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "This expansion builds on the momentum behind the Working Families Success Network strategy as well as the efforts of colleges across the country to find smarter ways to help low-income students cross the finish line."

The four state partner organizations and 16 colleges selected for the national community college expansion of the WFSN strategy are:

Arkansas Consortium

• Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges
• College of the Ouachitas (Malvern, Ark.)
• East Arkansas Community College (Forrest City, Ark.)
• North Arkansas College (Harrison, Ark.)
• Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (Helena-West Helena, Ark.)

California Consortium

• California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office
• Cabrillo College (Aptos, Calif.)
• Cañada College (Redwood City, Calif.)
• Porterville College (Porterville, Calif.)
• Skyline College (San Bruno, Calif.)

Virginia Consortium

• Virginia Community College System
• Danville Community College (Danville, Va.)
• Eastern Shore Community College (Melfa, Va.)
• Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale, Va.)
• Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville, Va.)

Washington Consortium

• The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
• Big Bend Community College (Moses Lake)
• Clark College (Vancouver)
• Highline College
• Walla Walla Community College

For more information on the programs, visit www.achievingthedream.org/resources/initiatives/working-families-success-network and www.workingfamiliessuccess.org.

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