Kirkland, Wash. – Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech), the only public institute of technology in Washington State, has entered into a partnership with three other agencies to form the Eastside Reengagement Center (ERC). Friends of Youth (FOY), King County Employment and Education Resources (EER) and Seattle Education Access (SEA) will work together to help disengaged youth and young adults in King County gain access to free high school equivalency preparation classes with individualized instruction. Participants also receive career counseling, employment services and college navigation.
To participate, individuals must be residents of King County, 16-25 years old, and not currently enrolled in school. According to Dr. Kim Infinger, principal/dean of LWTech’s High School Programs, this supportive program can provide a second chance for young people who have dropped out of high school or have become disengaged in their education. The classes prepare students to pass the General Educational Development (GED) exam and earn a GED diploma.
“The classes create opportunities for one-on-one instruction at the Friends of Youth’s Kirkland and Redmond locations coupled with wraparound support services. It also presents a pathway for students to transition to LWTech’s High School Programs,” said Infinger. The year-round program, taught by LWTech instructors, offers evening and morning classes at the FOY Kirkland and Redmond Youth Service Centers.
According to Friends of Youth president and chief executive officer Terry Pottmeyer, “We have sought better ways to engage youth in pursuing their educational goals for many years. We are very excited to embark on this new program with our partners, Lake Washington Institute of Technology and Seattle Education Access. Too often the young people we serve have not found the educational success they need through traditional education programs. The Eastside Reengagement Center is a place where they reconnect with education, in a more accessible and personal way.”
The ERC is part of the Open Doors Youth Reengagement program operating under House Bill 1418. Laurie Shannon, graduation specialist at Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) said Open Doors opportunities continue to expand in the state of Washington.
“In December, OSPI approved six additional pathways for students to reengage in their education; the new Eastside Reengagement Center is the third program pathway sponsored by Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Under the leadership of Dr. Kim Infinger, LWTech has been at the forefront of reengagement efforts in our state, with the program operating under House Bill 1418, Open Doors, since 2011,” said Shannon.
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