King County Promise: A Regional Postsecondary Access and Success System
Did you know?
High school graduates who do not further their education beyond high school earned a median of $24,900 less a year than those with bachelor’s degree (College Board). And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, students who do not pursue education beyond high school are nearly 40% more likely to be unemployed, and nearly four times more likely to be living in poverty(Pew Research Center).
King County Promise is a bold, public-private partnership to increase equity in college access and success for historically underserved students in King County. Since 2017, King County Promise has garnered the support of hundreds of students, educators, community-based organizations, and systems leaders. This diverse coalition is staffed by the Puget Sound Coalition for College & Career Readiness in partnership with Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD).
By 2024, almost 90% of living wage jobs in King County will require some type of postsecondary education. We know students and young people can achieve postsecondary credentials to fill these jobs when they are provided robust advising and guidance support at the high school, community, and college levels and financial resources to navigate their paths to achieving postsecondary credentials. According to a Community Center for Education Results Annual Report, 95% of our region’s youth desire college credentials but only 30% earn those credentials.
King County Promise pairs student supports with Washington State’s recently passed Workforce Education Investment Act and Washington College Grant programs to provide King County’s young people with both monetary and personal guidance, so they enter and complete their postsecondary credentials.
Vision and Goal
We are working to achieve the King County Promise vision for our youth:
- All Youth of Color and other historically underserved young people, receive high quality support to choose, pursue, and succeed in their postsecondary path;
- Substantial system capacity is built across K-12, higher education, and communities to ensure more equitable support;
- Our institutions make significant improvements to coordinate, align, and simplify the journey to completion; and
- Demonstrate to the state the programming, evidence-based practices, and staffing levels needed to achieve high postsecondary enrollment and success rates.
The goal of King County Promise is this: Increase postsecondary attainment of youth from 40% to 70% and eliminate gaps in attainment for Youth of Color, youth impacted by poverty or homelessness, or in the foster care, child welfare, or juvenile justice system; youth with disabilities, and youth who identify as LGBTQ or are otherwise vulnerable.
King County Promise 2020-21 Areas of Focus
This past year work has addressed the impact of the COVID pandemic and pre-launch strategies for the Promise program launch in 2022. Pre-launch steps include:
- Refining plans to ensure overall cohesion across multiple program areas and partnerships;
- Maintaining a clear and consistent focus on addressing equity gaps; and
- Supporting the efficient and effective use of PSTAA and private funding.