Vulnerable Adults at Seattle Goodwill and North Seattle College

By Wendy Erisman
Strix Research, LLC

Goodwill Industries International’s Community College/Career Collaboration (C4) program offers single parents, veterans, formerly incarcerated individuals, and other vulnerable adults the opportunity to earn college or career credentials through innovative partnerships between Goodwill affiliates and local community colleges. The program’s focus is on offering skills-based training leading to stackable credentials that will help make individuals workforce ready.

Decisions about what credentials to offer are made by each participating Goodwill affiliate and its community college partner based on input from industry-specific advisory groups made up of local employers. Classes may be offered at the Goodwill site, the community college, or both. The Goodwill affiliates also provide students with additional services, such as job-skills and job-search training, internships working at Goodwill sites, and referrals to other social services. Since 2010, these partnerships have served more than 9,200 individuals, more than 7,600 of whom have completed a credential.

The focus of Seattle Goodwill’s C4 program is to assist vulnerable adults in making the transition to community college enrollment. These potential college students can enroll free of charge in a for-credit Community College 101 class, taught at Goodwill sites, that gives them the tools needed to navigate the higher education system, including skills such as self-advocacy, time management, and goal setting, as well as opportunities to explore potential careers and learn about the education required for them. A Goodwill College Navigator then helps students with college applications, registration, financial aid, and other enrollment challenges. Seattle Goodwill also helps these students financially by covering tuition, fees, and books for the student’s first two quarters in college. Once students are close to completing a credential, they can return to Seattle Goodwill to work with an employment specialist.

North Seattle Community College is one of Seattle Goodwill’s partners in this program and helps subsidize the Community College 101 class, which was developed with input from the college, through a grant to Seattle Goodwill. Once the Goodwill-sponsored students arrive on campus, they have access to all of the college’s services, including its Opportunity Center for Employment and Education, which provides one-stop access to college and community services designed to assist low-income adults. College Navigators with expertise in key industries are available to advise students enrolled in programs related to that field about choosing courses, seeking employment, and locating other services. Students—and other community members—can also visit the center to get help with searching for a job, locating housing, signing up for public assistance programs, learning financial literacy or computer skills, and much more. The center complements the services provided by Seattle Goodwill to help ensure that the students in this program are able to succeed in college.

Learn more about Goodwill’s C4 project:

Learn more about the Career Pathways Program at Seattle Goodwill:

Learn more about the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education at North Seattle College: https://northseattle.edu/ocee

Note: Strix Research works with Higher Ed Insight, serving as the independent evaluator for Lumina Foundation's adult college completion strategy.


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