The REACH Center, in partnership with Tacoma Goodwill, Tacoma Public Schools, Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Tacoma Community College’s Fresh Start Program, has identified three core pathways for drop-out re-engagement, High School or GED completion, and post-secondary enrollment, in Pierce County. Each core pathway includes multiple additional tracks of study so that each student can decide the learning environment that works best for them.
Tacoma Goodwill (houses REACH Center and provides Technical Training programs), Bates Community College (REACH Center’s onsite GED instruction), Tacoma Community College (Fresh Start program), and Tacoma Public Schools.
The Tacoma School District is currently developing a dropout re-engagement program that will serve those students who would be eligible for re-engagement services.
The Fresh Start program allows students to accumulate college credit and obtain their high school diploma simultaneously. The average program graduate has about 65 college credits, which is only 2-3 quarters shy of receiving an associate (university transfer) degree. Students who take advantage of this opportunity can go on to a 4-year university, or enter one of many technical or certificate programs.
The Educational Access Program (EAP)
This program model will provide caring, advocates for off-track, out-of-school youth. These advocates will assist young people with important elements to get back on track. Our overall philosophy is that learning can come from different approaches and hands-on experience . If we increase the positive expectations for them, personally and as a community, they are all capable of re-engaging with their education, their career plans, and their community.
The EAP model will serve the enrollees for up to one whole year. Continual enrollment will allow us to intensely work with seriously at-risk, underserved 16 to 21 year olds and help them transition into a positive outcome and plan for self-sufficiency. The nature of the EAP will allow for some early positive exits, but we expect an average length of stay in the chosen components of 6-8 months minimally. All will receive case management follow up and transition support for 12 months from entry, where possible. The small ratio ensures daily contact, and facilitates the holistic, wrap-around instructional and case management service delivery we expect to make the difference for these off-track youth. The EAP will be classroom based, individual & group learning, hands-on computer station work, community & service learning, and work & college site field experiences. The EAP will run onsite or in the community five days a week, excluding holidays.
The students will attend the program from 9:00am – 2:00pm. Students will also be provided supplemental writing and math classes, in addition to their GED requirements, to reduce the attrition rates of students entering college at remedial English and Math levels. While studying for their GED they will be able to access the following classes/programs/resources (and more come into play all the time):
||Financial Literacy Course||Healthy Cooking & Nutrition Course|
|Onsite Barista Training program||Computer resource lab||On-line Learning|
|Case management for employment/education||Culinary Skills program||Apprenticeship Links|
|Certification programs||Job Fairs||Audio/Visual/Creation|
|College placement tests||Career assessments||Employment Portfolio|
|Electronic Job Searches||Practice Interviews||Paid internships|
|Special Events directed by young people 16-24…..||On the job training||Construction skill programs|
|Paid & Unpaid Peer Support Worker||Hands-On Life Skills classes…..||AmeriCorps|
|Leadership Training||Tutoring & Counseling||Hiring Academies|
|Employer Interviews||Food handler card||Urban Art classes|
Upon completion of their GED, EAP students will be given an option of multiple post-secondary pathways, to include but not limited to:
- For students going on to college, REACH will provide assistance in identifying financial aid so they can enroll for either an AA or certification within an identified career field.
- Technical Skills: REACH Center and Goodwill offer technical/vocational certification programs, including Warehousing and Logistics, Culinary Skills Training, Environmental Construction Training, Retail Skills, and Home Healthcare Worker Training.
- Pre-Apprenticeship: Students will have the opportunity to take a pre-apprenticeship class administered by the American Federation of Labor’s Building-Construction Trades Department. The course is composed of a 120 hour multi-craft curriculum to help students determine if the building trades are a suitable career, as well as assistance with apprenticeship placement.
- Continuing Education: Students will be able to access Continuing Education classes at local community and technical colleges.
- Training Programs: Students will be able to enroll in various training programs according to their interests.
Soft skills and critical thinking are key components to success in the workplace. The RLC will explicitly deliver and practice these 21st Century skills, developed through our unique mix of project-based service learning assignments, workplace and college visits, tested Professional Development Course and 21st Century skills curriculum, and interactive and reflective workshops on professionalism/work ethic, collaboration/teamwork, leadership, ethics/social responsibility, social networking, written communication and information technology applications. Underlying all these strands is the concrete achievement of a GED or completion of HS diploma and progressive enrollment into post-secondary or apprenticeship options. We will have GED classes, with personalized instruction and tutoring, onsite daily.
This EAP also tightens partnerships with educational partners in their efforts to prepare students for post-secondary success. We will work to reengage the youths’ interest in education with information sharing, service linkages, and applied learning opportunities as a means for students to achieve academic success and career preparation.
The REACH Center has created a strong relationship with over 40 non-profits, agencies, businesses, and other organizations. This ranges from financial contribution, to referrals of young people to the REACH Center, partner programs, classes or providing services to help the young person succeed in education and employment. This is a part of a community-wide, systemic approach to increasing the protective factors available to in-need young people in the Tacoma and Pierce County area.