Porterville College

Achieving the Dream Selects Porterville College

Achieving the Dream Announces the Selection of Porterville College for the National Community College Expansion of the Working Families Success Network Strategy

Porterville College commits to implementing the WFSN strategy to support more low-income students and their families achieve their academic and financial goals

Achieving the Dreamtoday announced anational community college expansion of the Working Families Success Network (WFSN) strategy. Porterville College is one of 16 community colleges in four states that will implement the strategy — used at over 100 sites in the nation to help low-income individuals and families achieve financial stability — to promote postsecondary completion for students whose economic challenges can thwart their academic and career goals.

The WFSN strategy involvesintentionally integrating and sequencing three distinct but related services:

  1. Education and employment advancement—education, job readiness, training, and placement;
  2. Income and work supports—access to student financial aid, public benefits, tax credits, and free tax assistance; and
  3. Financial services and asset building—financial education and coaching linked to affordable products andservices to help families build self-sufficiency, stabilize their finances, and become more economically competitive.

“Porterville College is honored to have been selected as one of four community colleges in California to participate in the Working Families Success Network,” said Porterville College President, Dr. Rosa Flores-Carlson. “Porterville College will work alongside our community partners to help low-income individuals and families to achieve financial stability and to continue to promote postsecondary completion for students who aren’t earning enough income to attend college. There are several local and county agencies that offer specific services to the population, it is important to identify, streamline and coordinate all the services in our community in order to meet the needs of more students and families.  By working together as a community, we will be able to provide students with specific tools to enhance their chances for a better life through education and financial stability,” said Carlson.

This effort is supported with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Lumina Foundation, MetLife Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“Our goal is to support students who have already taken a big step toward their long-term financial success by addressing the short-term economic challenges that can get in their way,” said Rosa Maria Castañeda, a senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “This expansion builds on the momentum behind the Working Families Success Network strategy as well as the efforts of colleges across the country to find smarter ways to help low-income students cross the finish line.”

Through this work, Achieving the Dream seeks to demonstrate that embedding the WFSN strategy in community college culture and systems can be cost effective and improve student outcomes and financial stability. The goal is for the intentional integration and sequencing of services – which evidence suggests make a difference in whether a student thrives or languishes – to become the routine way colleges support low-income students and their families.

"Through the expansion of the WFSN strategy in community colleges, we expect to learn more about the power of bundling or coupling services needed by low-income students with family responsibilities,” said Carol Lincoln, Senior Vice President of Achieving the Dream. "Colleges that have pioneered this strategy have seen increases of 10-15 percent in term-to-term retention. Since financial challenges are the most frequently given reason students drop out, new  solutions are needed for helping students persist and complete credentials. WFSN colleges will produce new lessons about the mix, intensity, and delivery of critical services that can help close achievement gaps and keep students on pathways to completion and careers."

The four state partner organizations and 16 collegesselected for the national community college expansion of the WFSN strategy are:

Arkansas Consortium California Consortium Virginia Consortium Washington Consortium
Arkansas Association of
Two-Year Colleges
California Community
Colleges Chancellor’s Office
Virginia Community
College System
The Washington State
Board for Community and Technical Colleges
College of the Ouachitas (Malvern, Ark.) Cabrillo College (Aptos, Calif.) Danville Community College (Danville, Va.) Big Bend Community
College (Moses Lake, Wash.)
East Arkansas Community College (Forrest City, Ark.) Cañada College (Redwood City, Calif.) Eastern Shore Community College (Melfa, Va.) Clark College (Vancouver, Wash.)
North Arkansas College (Harrison, Ark.) Porterville College (Porterville, Calif.) Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale, Va.) Highline College (Des Moines, Wash.)
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (Helena-West Helena, Ark.) Skyline College
(San Bruno, Calif.)
Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville, Va.) Walla Walla Community College (Walla Walla, Wash.)

For more information about the national community college expansion of the WFSN strategy, please visit www.achievingthedream.org/resources/initiatives/working-families-success-network.

For more information about the Working Families Success Network, please visit www.workingfamiliessuccess.org.

Kern Community College District