The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) announces an exciting opportunity for adult learners in Pierce County, Washington. Through the Compass Coaching Pierce Country Project, over 1,100 Pierce County residents will have an opportunity to work one-one-one with a college coach, at no cost. The coach will help prospective students identify high-value education pathways in Pierce Country and direct students to next steps.
This region has not been spared from the economic fallout of the pandemic, with the unemployment rate of 7.6% slightly higher than the state’s average. Among those who are unemployed in the region, over half are without any postsecondary experience. Higher education is critical to responding to our current economic crisis, as we know a credential leads to higher earnings and lower unemployment, and many displaced workers will need higher education to re-enter the labor market.
Adult students attend college for a variety of reasons. Some are looking to advance in their careers; some to change direction; and many to fulfill a commitment they made to themselves or to serve as a role model for their families. While their reasons differ, nearly all of them face the challenge of adding a commitment to school to an already-long list of responsibilities. Washington Student Achievement Council’s experience working with adult learners has provided insight that these students appreciate and respond well to advice and support to balance an education with the competing demands of career and family.
The Compass coaches recognize these barriers and are positioned to offer tailored assistance to adults interested in finishing their education or obtaining a certificate. As a result, the Compass Coaching Pierce Project is positioned to be a key component in Pierce County students’ future academic success.
The Compass Coaching Pierce Project promises to be a unique, rich and beneficial experience for Pierce County’s prospective adult students. The project stems from a partnership between the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) and participating institutions in Pierce County. Together, their common goal is simple: to serve adults in the region interested in retraining or pursuing a higher education credential. Participating higher education institutions include:
• Bates Technical College
• Central Washington University – Pierce County
• Clover Park Technical College
• Pierce College
• Tacoma Community College
• The Evergreen State College – Tacoma Campus
• Pacific Lutheran University
• University of Washington – Tacoma
The end goal for each individual student will be as unique as the student themselves. The process of returning to a relatively unfamiliar environment with the added stressors of family, work, goals, and the current economic climate are real factors in this decision. The burden of this process will be made much lighter with free coaching due to the generous support of the Washington Student Achievement Council’s Compass Coaching Pierce Project.