RTC joins 'Achieving the Dream' initiative to help students succeed
Renton Technical College is among six colleges chosen from Washington State.
Renton, WA – Renton Technical College (RTC) has been selected as one of
six community and technical colleges in Washington State to join Achieving the
Dream: Community & Technical Colleges Count, a national initiative to help
more community college students succeed. Renton Technical College will receive
grant money and support to implement strategies to help more of its students
— particularly students of color and low-income students earn
degrees, complete certificates or transfer to other institutions to continue
their studies. This is the first time colleges in Washington State have
participated in the initiative. The other five colleges are: Big Bend Community
College, Yakima Valley Community College, Highline Community College, Tacoma
Community College and Seattle Central Community College.
College Spark Washington has awarded Renton Technical College a $50,000 grant to
plan and launch Achieving the Dream on its campus. The college will apply next
year for an implementation grant worth up to $400,000 over four years.
Additionally, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
will be eligible to receive up to $375,000 over a five-year period to assist
with the initiative. College Spark has partnered with Lumina Foundation for
Education to expand the Achieving the Dream initiative into Washington State
and will provide approximately $4 million in grants and other services to
support the initiative.
“The Achieving the Dream Initiative is an excellent opportunity for Renton
Technical College to continue its work on helping students be successful. With
our work on a Universal Design for Learning project, the Student Success Center
and other initiatives, Achieving the Dream is a natural next step for
us,” said Dr. Donald E. Bressler, President of RTC.
Renton Technical College is among 23 institutions nationwide joining Achieving
the Dream as part of the initiative’s latest expansion. They join 35
colleges in seven states already participating, bringing the total number of
Achieving the Dream colleges to 58 in nine states. More about Achieving the
Dream, including a full list of participants, can be found online at
“In Washington State, more than 60 percent of undergraduates attend our
public community and technical colleges, and 58 percent of projected job
openings will require at least some postsecondary education. These colleges are
a critical access point to higher education and play a vital role by helping
people of all backgrounds gain the skills they need in today’s job
market,” said Christine A. McCabe, executive director of College Spark.
In addition to support from College Spark, funding for this latest group of
schools is being provided by The Heinz Endowments for seven colleges in
Pennsylvania, and by Houston Endowment Inc. for 10 Houston-area institutions.
Start-up funding for Achieving the Dream was provided by Lumina Foundation for
Education, which continues to provide funding for the 27 community colleges
included in the initiative’s initial launch in 2004 as well as for other
elements of the initiative’s work. A second round of colleges joined in
2005 with funding from Knowledge Works Foundation and Nellie Mae Education
Participating colleges identify strategies to help more students continue their
studies and earn certificates and degrees. Strategies include helping students
better prepare for college-level work by focusing on developmental education,
engaging students in the classroom through new instructional techniques that
include team learning and the combining of subjects to make learning more
relevant to students’ lives, and using student success courses to teach
skills such as time management and effective study skills.
Achieving the Dream is a multiyear initiative that focuses on improving the
success of students and emphasizes the use of data so colleges can make more
informed decisions. In addition to funding, participating colleges receive a
range of support from the initiative’s partner organizations. Each
college works closely with an Achieving the Dream coach, many of whom are
former college presidents, and a data facilitator who provides hands-on help
with the use of data.
Other partner organizations providing support to the initiative are the American
Association of Community Colleges; the Community College Leadership Program at
the University of Texas-Austin; the Community College Research Center, Teachers
College, Columbia University; Institute for Higher Education at the University
of Florida; Jobs for the Future; MDC; MDRC; and Public Agenda.
About Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a national initiative to help
more community college students — particularly students of color and
low-income students —succeed. The initiative works on multiple fronts
— including efforts at community colleges and in research, public
engagement and public policy — and emphasizes the use of data to drive
About Renton Technical College
For 65 years, Renton Technical College (RTC) has prepared a diverse population
for work, fulfilling the employment needs of individuals, business and
industry. The college offers Certificates of Completion and Associate of
Applied Science Degrees in over 70 full-and part-time career training programs.
Each year, RTC provides services for a student population that is diverse and
with different needs. 25% of the student population is enrolled in ESL, ABE and
GED and 39% of the student population is of color. For many students, receiving
financial aid makes it possible to get the education and skills needed to be
successful in the workplace. In addition, approximately 78 % of RTC students
receive some form of financial aid enabling them to continue their education.
About College Spark Washington
College Spark Washington’s mission is to fund programs that help
low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees. College Spark
makes grants to organizations and institutions throughout Washington state that
are helping low-income students improve their academic achievement, prepare for
college life and graduate from college. Grantees include: community
organizations and program providers, technical and community colleges,
four-year colleges and universities, other educational institutions, and public
agencies. Formerly known as Education Assistance Foundation, College Spark is a
Washington nonprofit foundation. For more information about College Spark,
please visit www.collegespark.org.