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Clearing the Path to Post-Secondary Education

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

When community partners help families navigate around barriers, education can be accessible for all.


“Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn.” The wisdom of Benjamin Franklin continues to guide our pursuit of a community where the ability to flourish is accessible to all. Access to post-secondary (post-high school) education is more than just a pathway for members of our community: it’s the key to unlocking a brighter future for Waco and its residents. In fact, in a rapidly changing world, solid post-secondary training is vital for anyone looking to thrive economically. But for many, especially prospective first-generation college students, the route to entry is often unclear or filled with obstacles.

That’s why we’re hard at work in the post-secondary space. Through a partnership with McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College, as well as other community partners, our UpSkill Waco initiative aims to support access to workforce training programs and post-secondary certifications—through scholarship support and transportation assistance as well as other means—that can lead to better jobs at better wages for Waco residents. It’s also why our team includes a arriers they face are significant. One common obstacle I frequently observed during my time in secondary education was the challenge that comes with the uncertain immigration or residency status of students. Federal and state aid is not an option for undocumented students, students who largely were brought to our country as children and for whom this is their only home. Those who lacked the necessary immigration status to formally receive certain services often faced financial barriers that made it difficult for them to afford post-secondary options. Nearly one in five such students in the U.S. reside in Texas. They are our future workforce, future business owners, and community members; helping ensure they are able to fully participate in community and civic life and build a 21st-century economy is a policy imperative. Waco is home to many post-secondary institutions: a nationally renowned R1 research university, an exceptional community college, the flagship campus of our state’s technical college system, and local presence of two additional four-year institutions in the University Center, bringing access to

Texas Tech University and Tarleton University to area students. Our residents have options but often lack awareness of the resources that can make these options affordable. That means spreading awareness about these resources—lowering the threshold toward career-centric education for students and parents—is a role we, at Prosper Waco, and our partners take seriously.

That’s why we’re hard at work in the post-secondary space. Through a partnership with McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College, as well as other community partners, our UpSkill Waco initiative aims to support access to workforce training programs and post-secondary certifications—through scholarship support and transportation assistance as well as other means—that can lead to better jobs at better wages for Waco residents. It’s also why our team includes a

Skills Navigator, whose sole role is to guide prospective students toward training programs in targeted industry sectors that best fit their needs and goals.

As we move forward, let’s embrace Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom: “involve me, and I learn.” Through the inclusive approach of collective impact, where every level of community has a voice and is working together, and dedication to post-secondary access and training pathways, we can ensure that Waco and the people who’ve made it home, continue to thrive, grow, and prosper.


 






LaTishia Beacom

Director of Workforce and Education

Yorumlar


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