Yakima Valley College highlights student success during #CCMonth

YVC has given me the motivation to get kick started on what I’m passionate about and follow my dreams,” says student Jacob Mclam, who struggled for years with drug addiction before enrolling at Yakima Valley College earlier this academic year.

For Mclam and thousands of other students across the country, community colleges provide a pathway to a better life that’s affordable, high-quality and close to home. That’s why in April each year, Yakima Valley College joins #CCMonth, a month-long grassroots education and stigma-busting campaign coordinated by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT).

“The past year has proved beyond any doubt that our college is absolutely vital to our community and our state,” said Jennifer Ernst, YVC vice president of instruction and student services. “Celebrating our nation’s community colleges this April is an opportunity to reach out and demonstrate not only that community colleges should be the first choice of many collegegoers, but why community colleges are first-class institutions that are vital to our local and state economies.”

At YVC, 86% of the student body are the first in their family to attend college, while 53% are from low-income households and 80% receive grants, scholarships or other types of aid.

Public community colleges like YVC are a uniquely American educational model that was designed to guarantee access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all people. They are the primary educators of life-saving nursing and other healthcare professionals, along with numerous other professionals who are the backbone of local economies. Community colleges also provide an on-ramp to bachelor’s, master’s and higher-level degrees for many students, and particularly for demographically and socioeconomically diverse communities.

In short, Ernst said, community colleges were created to serve the needs of their communities, and they do it exceptionally well.

Despite all this, many people wrongly believe that community colleges are inferior institutions, and in most states, community colleges receive significantly less per-student state support than other public institutions of higher education.

“These negative attitudes and disparities support and encourage ongoing socioeconomic and demographic disadvantages and inequities in the United States,” says Ernst.

Mclam, whose working toward a degree in substance use disorder, says he’s happy to have a place in his community where he can study and work toward a better life for his family — and pursue a career in which he can motivate others and help them find their own passion.

“YVC has given me the motivation to keep pushing forward,” said Mclam. “[Prospective students] should really weigh what you are passionate about and let it help give you an incentive to stay clean and [help shape] what to live for. For me personally my family and my son are my biggest motivators. Along with newfound progress toward this career path.”

Completing a degree or certificate shouldn’t be complicated. At YVC, related programs are grouped into academic pathways to help students focus their time while expert advisors support students in creating manageable academic plans. YVC offers 5 bachelor of applied science degrees, more than 50 associate degrees and more than 100 certificates.

Learn more about YVC’s academic programs. Upcoming events that help support student success include financial aid nights, financial literacy events, cultural and diversity-focused programming, and family engagement nights, and more. Visit our college calendar for a complete list.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 / dwunderlich@yvcc.edu
Stefanie Menard / 509.574.4646 / smenard@yvcc.edu