King County is helping students get their GED and begin a pathway to higher education through a program called Learning Center Seattle (LCS).
A partnership between King County, Seattle Central College, Seattle Education Access, United Way of King County and the Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council, LCS helps some of Seattle’s most vulnerable youth finish high school, earn a college degree and achieve their career goals.
“What’s unique about Learning Center Seattle (LCS) Reengagement Program is once a student completes their GED and transitions into one of the four Seattle-based colleges [Seattle Central Community College, South Seattle Community College, North Seattle Community College or Seattle Vocational Institute], we are able to fully fund their tuition for the first two years,” said Rondolf de Guzman, Social Services Professional with the Department of Community and Human Services.
The students the site serves come from Garfield High school, Nova High School, Franklin High School, Cleveland High School, and Rainier High School. “The students that we serve typically are significantly course-credit deficient and they have to be ages 16-21,” Rondolf said.
In its first year of operation, LCS helped 24 students earn their GED and helped enroll 13 students in college, eight of which have completed their first quarter of school. There are 50 students currently enrolled in the program.
Rondolf works with students with personal and academic barriers to help them successfully get through the program. “I support them while they are working toward their GED and transition into employment,” Rondolf said.
Students enrolled at LCS are eligible for internships and the County pays them for the hours worked. “The great thing about my role here is that I have funding to support students with paid internships,” Rondolf said.
Learning Center Seattle came about from conversations with the colleges and the reengagement system to support the community in the Seattle Central area. Strategically placing the school was the utmost priority in order to maximize student outreach.
LCS’s enrollment was largely based from Garfield and Nova High Schools, and with their open enrollment, school counselors have been referring students to the program. LCS is committed to building strong community relations with the counselors.
“We do this to show appreciation for the referrals,” Rondolf said. “We also want share with them their students’ accomplishments.”