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

Media Contact: 
Lauren Lewis, (917) 613-6419,


Silver Spring, Md. (Aug. 28, 2014) –Achieving the Dream today announced a national community college expansion of the Working Families Success Network (WFSN) strategy. Sixteen community colleges in four states 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 involves intentionally 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; 
  3. Financial services and asset building—financial education and coaching linked to affordable products and services to help families build self-sufficiency, stablize their finances, and become more economically competitive. 

The four state partner organizations and 16 colleges 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, AR)
Cabrillo College
(Aptos, CA)
Danville Community College
(Danville, VA)
Big Bend Community College
(Moses Lake, WA)
East Arkansas Community College
(Forrest City, AR)
Cañada College
(Redwood City, CA)
Eastern Shore Community College
(Melfa, VA)
Clark College
(Vancouver, WA)
North Arkansas College
(Harrison, AR)
Porterville College
(Porterville, CA)
Northern Virginia Community College
(Annandale, VA) 
Highline College
(Des Moines, WA)
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
(Helena-West Helena, AR)
Skyline College
(San Bruno, CA)
Patrick Henry Community College 
(Martinsville, VA)
Walla Walla Community College
(Walla Walla, WA)


These colleges and state partner organizations were selected through a competitive application process that assessed commitment to racial equity and poverty reduction as well as the colleges’ demonstrated ability to support student success using data-informed decision-making.

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."

For more information about the national community college expansion of the WFSN strategy, please visit

For more information about the Working Families Success Network, please visit


Press Release Files

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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