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YVC Skills Center building in the spring

2023 Distinguished Service Award | Educational Service District 105

Yakima Valley College selected the Educational Service District (ESD) 105 as the 2023 recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award provides recognition to a community member or organization who provides support to the mission of Yakima Valley College and its students. The selection is made by the President’s Office.

ESD 105 and YVC share a commitment to education and providing opportunities for lifelong learning. This spring a new partnership between the two organizations along with local school districts is helping residents of the Yakima Valley finish high school and prepare for college.

“LINK offers an inclusive learning experience, rich with opportunities to network and connect with peers on a college campus,” said ESD 105 Superintendent Kevin Chase. “Our teachers understand the need for individualized pathways and guide students with essential skills and necessary knowledge of resources, but ultimately the students play an active role in facilitating their own movement from school to past-school activities. We are very fortunate to be able to partner with YVC to offer this unique learning experience to students in our region.”

“Working so closely with ESD 105 has given us the opportunity to serve our community in ways we haven’t been able to before.” — Jennifer Ernst, YVC vice president of instruction and student services 

The LINK program allows students with intellectual and development disabilities to network and learn alongside their peers on YVC’s Yakima Campus, creating a sense of advancement, connectedness and community. Through a coordinated effort with local school districts, the program helps eligible students who are on a pathway to graduation, but have not yet exited from high school, complete high school and transition to college courses. A ribbon-cutting and grand opening event showcasing LINK was held on June 7 in the Yakima Valley College Skills Center.

“Working so closely with ESD 105 has given us the opportunity to serve our community in ways we haven’t been able to before,” said YVC Vice President of Instruction and Student Services Jennifer Ernst.

ESD 105 supports the learning success of more than 66,000 students who attend 25 public school districts and more than 20 state-approved private and tribal schools in South Central Washington. As a service agency, its purpose is to meet the needs of local school districts by coordinating and conducting cooperative programs that benefit the educational needs of young people. As one of nine ESDs in the state of Washington, ESD 105 carries out liaison activities between YVC, local school districts, the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the State Board of Education. 

ESD 105 is a pillar in Washington’s K-12 education system and Yakima Valley College is honored to partner with them to expand learning in South Central Washington

“We truly believe that the keys to a successful start in life after K-12 education are the relationships that students have forged and the knowledge they have of the processes and resources available to continue to support them throughout their lives after graduation,” continued Chase. “Our LINK High School Transition Skills Center prepares our students by providing both.” 

Further Reading

New partnership opens opportunity for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The LINK partnership aims to bring together a variety of services and resources for students with intellectual and development disabilities (I/DD) who are 18 – 21 years of age. In doing so, LINK helps those students integrate into their communities and gain the knowledge and skills to successfully choose their pathway into adulthood. The LINK program eases the transition process. By being based at YVC’s Yakima Campus, LINK students have an opportunity to see how they can succeed outside the K-12 environment and meet more peers. Read more in this issue of YVC Voice