A desire to bridge a technology gap for students led the Peninsula College Foundation to a community collaboration that formed The Transitional Studies Laptop Access Program (TSLAP).
Under the program, a laptop will be offered to students who are pursuing their High School Equivalency in the Peninsula College Transitional Studies Programs. If they complete coursework and continue their education at PC they will keep the equipment, and transition to college or work with the technology they need.
“Access to laptops became crucial once the pandemic began,” said Amie Batton, Director of Transitional Studies at Peninsula College. “The idea of a laptop program that would serve close to 75 students this year, with an incentive to continue their education, was formed.”
The United Way of Clallam County designated their “Get It Done Award” of $10,000 to TSLAP and was integral in the Foundation applying and receiving an additional $25,000 grant from the First Federal Community Foundation, Batton said.
“Recognizing that this will be an ongoing need, we encouraged the Peninsula College Foundation to apply for other grants,” said Christy Smith, CEO of United Way of Clallam County. “We were pleased to learn that our initial gift helped secure funding for even more students, setting them up for success. We are thankful that the First Federal Foundation sees this as an investment in students’ education that will improve the entire community’s wellbeing by helping get more individuals out of poverty and into the workforce."
Peninsula College Foundation’s partnership with the United Way of Clallam County started in 2017 with the creation of the "United Way Get It Done Fund". The fund is designed to support students who may face barriers while completing their High School Diploma or GED. Since the creation of the program, it has allowed more than 70 students to stay on track with their education.
“The First Federal Community Foundation’s dedication to economic and community development was fundamental in jump-starting this project,” said new Peninsula College Foundation CEO Paul Pitkin. “I was excited for the opportunity to hit the ground running with such an equitable project. It is great to see how our community comes together to support Peninsula Colleges students.”
Batton reported that during the months that students were 100% online during the pandemic, those who had access to technology in their homes were completing the program at a higher rate.
“Never has the need for equitable access to technology been more evident than through the COVID pandemic,” said First Federal Community Foundation Board President Norman J. Tonina. “The Foundation is excited at the impact this grant will have for students outside the public school system to attain their high school diploma over GED, the starting point for their next phase of learning, connecting, and exploring.”
Transitional Studies programs are offered in-person and online from the college’s Port Angeles and Port Townsend locations.