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.