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HPOG Promising Practice: Edmonds College–Education, Training, & Support Services

Published: August 31, 2020
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Promising Practices

Lynnwood, WA

Student-centered coaching broadens access to personalized support services.

Whatcom Community College (WCC) added the Innovations in Creating Access to Careers in Healthcare Grant (I-CATCH) program to their campus in October 2018. The I-CATCH program is open to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and low-income individuals looking for a new career in healthcare. WCC’s addition of I-CATCH opened training and support services to more people in Washington state. It also brought a new approach to I-CATCH participant coaching. The WCC I-CATCH program uses a student-centered coaching approach, which focuses on utilizing campus and community resources to fund and support students’ personal needs. The coaching also keeps employment in mind through every step of the student’s academic progression.

Unexpected gaps in funding can cause financial hardship for students. Coaches cross this hurdle by screening new I-CATCH participants to see if they qualify for other grants on the WCC campus, such as Worker Retraining, BFET, and the Opportunity Grant. I-CATCH financial literacy training prevents funding breaks by creating long-term budgets for students to manage scholarship and grant money. In addition, the WCC I-CATCH program coordinator emails students scholarship opportunities throughout the year and writes letters of recommendation when necessary. All fall 2019 I-CATCH students who applied for the WCC Foundation Scholarship were awarded between $300 to $700 dollars. Students were also informed about WCC’s crisis fund, The Orca Student Success Fund. Several I-CATCH students used the Orca Student Success fund to pay for housing, medical bills, or childcare.

When entering the I-CATCH program, students receive coaching on how to access campus resources such as the writing center, disability services, and counseling services. Many I-CATCH students took advantage of these services last year, seeking accommodation and counseling assistance as needed.

WCC I-CATCH also emails participants about community resources, including energy assistance programs, meal programs, and clothing programs. The I-CATCH program coordinator makes referrals to Toys for Tots and the Community Toy Store. One nursing student was concerned she would not be able to buy Christmas gifts for her daughter. She received a referral to the Community Toy Store and was able to purchase a brand-new bike for her daughter at 90% off.

The WCC I-CATCH program keeps the end-goal of employment in mind by making sure students have the resources they need to complete certification examinations. Students receive study materials and access to free supplemental courses to help them pass their National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) examinations. In addition, students are informed of the employment navigation services provided through I-CATCH’s grant partner, Workforce Snohomish. Students are informed of employment assistance at the initial information session, at the social interview, and in workshops. When a student is preparing for practicum or is ready for employment, the I-CATCH Program Coordinator provides a direct referral to the employment navigator. This has helped make sure graduates are successful in their job search and aids with tracking employment data. 

This Promising Practice was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

Last Reviewed: August 31, 2020