Washington Student Achievement Council grant supports collaborative education effort in Benton City

Several area education, labor, business and workforce development organizations have launched an effort aimed at increasing Benton City students’ pursuit of post-secondary credentials – an apprenticeship, certification, two-year technical degree or a four-year college degree.

Such credentials are forecast to be required by 2030 for the majority of the state’s family-wage careers.

The regional team was awarded a $125,000 planning grant from the Washington Student Achievement Council to create an innovative multi-generational approach to engaging Kiona-Benton City students and their families in increasing credential attainment and connections to the area workforce.

The team includes The STEM Foundation, Kiona-Benton City School District, Steward Leaders, Columbia Basin College, Washington State University Tri-Cities, TRIDEC, Educational Service District 123, Tri-Tech Skills Center, TC Futures, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Benton-Franklin Workforce Development Council, The Rural Alliance, and others.

It will work with students and families to increase direct enrollment in post-secondary programs; engage adults—especially younger parents and family members—and out-of-school youth returning to education; and support completion rates for Kiona-Benton’s credential-seeking individuals.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to build a strong regional partnership focused on helping more students achieve educational and career success after high school,” said Deb Bowen, The STEM Foundation Executive Director.

The Mid-Columbia team was one of six teams selected from more than 80 applicants statewide in the first cohort of this innovative initiative led by the Washington Student Achievement Council.

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