YVC receives $2.9 million Department of Education grant to support student success

All Yakima Valley College students will benefit from enhanced programming to support their academic and professional success, in particular those of Hispanic heritage or from low-income households, provided through a U.S. Department of Education grant.

The grant, totaling $2,872,888 over five years, was awarded through the department’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program to help drive Latino student success in higher education. YVC, a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) since 2002, previously received Title V grants to help HSIs build their capacity to support students in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

“This grant will strengthen our institution and benefit all students at YVC,” said President Linda Kaminski. “We serve a diverse and vibrant community, and this grant advances our commitment to helping all students excel in their studies and graduate from YVC well prepared to pursue further education, employment and leadership roles.”

Three interlocking components of the HSI Relevance Project will help drive YVC’s overarching goal to foster genuine and lasting culture change on campus:

  • A career-readiness program that is student-centered,
  • A leadership learning community to create a more inclusive HSI environment that is institution-centered, and
  • A campus wellness program that provides culturally appropriate support for students and staff, benefiting social-emotional health, college success and centered in the college community.

More than two-thirds of YVC students identify as persons of color, including 64% who identified as Hispanic during the 2022-23 academic year. Meanwhile, approximately 86% of YVC students are first-generation college students and 53% come from low-income households.

Kaminski noted the project will put an emphasis on fostering learning that is relevant to YVC’s diverse campus community.

“YVC’s HSI Relevance Project will advance our institutional goals to improve and sustain an institutional culture that is educationally equitable, enhances opportunities for personal enrichment and economic mobility, and welcomes everyone,” she said.

Keith Reyes, project director and sociology instructor, said the first prong of the project will strengthen academic programming by integrating career relevant curriculum and creating a career advising center around YVC’s six academic pathways (also known as Guided Pathways).

The second prong of the project will create shared equity leadership academies for students and college personnel, strengthening institutional capacities for servingness and elevating student voice in college decision-making.

Finally, the project will strengthen wellness curriculum and counseling for all students, including offering mental health first aid training, developing peer-to-peer support networks and supporting student affinity groups.

“Each element in our project supports the others,” said Reyes. “Supporting student success means attending to our students in a holistic way. We want to make sure what they’re learning in the classroom is connected to their professional aspirations. We want to make sure they have opportunities to practice being a leader and serving their community during their YVC experience.”

YVC was one of more than dozen community colleges across the country awarded more than $37 million through the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program and announced by the Department of Education in late September.

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