UW News

May 2, 2017

UW Continuum College launches first-ever scholarship program for certificate students

photograph of certificate graduate

UW Continuum College Vice Provost Rovy Branon, certificate graduate Elizabeth Kennedy, and Senior Director of Marketing & Enrollment Services Risa de Gorgue (left to right)University of Washington

University of Washington Continuum College, which offers 100 certificate programs through UW Professional & Continuing Education (UWPCE), this week launched the UWPCE Certificate Scholarship program to help Washington residents eager to advance their careers through education.

“Our world is changing and education is changing as well,” says UW Continuum College Vice Provost Rovy Branon. “Every day, we hear from people who want to keep up with those changes in their lives. At a time when continual learning has never been more critical to people’s professional success, our new scholarship program helps ensure that adult learners who struggle to afford continuing education have access to opportunities that can boost their careers and improve their lives,” explains Branon. “We are excited to kick-off this new initiative by awarding 10 need-based scholarships for select certificate programs starting this fall.”

Chosen for their importance to today’s workplace needs, the five scholarship-eligible certificate programs, offered in Seattle, Bellevue and online, are:

Awards will be based on financial need and potential for career impact. Only Washington state residents can apply. Full details on eligibility criteria can be found online.

UW certificate programs prepare thousands of freshly trained employees for in-demand “pathway” jobs — those that require more knowledge and expertise than entry-level jobs and are often a key step on the road to long-lasting leadership roles.

As Branon explains, “By providing scholarships that give access to education that helps advance our students’ professional success, we don’t just help them — we build a better-educated workforce and stronger community for us all.”

That certainly was the case for UW certificate grad Elizabeth Kennedy. She credits continuing education at the UW for helping her get back on track, after she acquired a disability that negatively impacted her career development for years.

“Disability is the one demographic that any of us can fall into at any moment,” says Kennedy. “By the time my health started to improve, I’d been left behind in terms of my skills.”

So she decided to boost her career by completing several professional certificates at the UW – including programs in human resources management, nonprofit management and project management. Today, she uses what she learned to help create opportunities for others in underserved communities.

Kennedy is part of a mobile computer lab initiative funded by City of Seattle in collaboration with Full Life Care, to provide access to technology and digital literacy skills for residents of nine Seattle public housing communities. She is also developing a triathlon training program for low-income athletes.

“Education unlocked the potential for me to pursue meaningful work,” Kennedy says. “I want others to have this experience too.”

The option to make financial gifts or donations to the scholarship fund lets individuals and businesses contribute to the growth of the program, meaning even more opportunities for more people down the road.

“Gifts to our new scholarship program can make a real difference for adult learners who are trying to shape better futures for themselves and their families,” says Branon. “Some of these students struggle to afford the full cost of a UW certificate, which can be as much as $4,000.”

Branon adds, “With the support of our certificate alumni, employers, staff and community members, we hope to roll out scholarships more broadly across our certificate portfolio to give even wider access to high demand career skills.”

To apply for a UWPCE Certificate Scholarship, visit pce.uw.edu/certificate-scholarship. The application deadline is July 10. Donations can be made at Donations can be made at continuum.uw.edu/support-us.

For more information, contact Jo Gubas, UW Continuum College, at jgubas@uw.edu or 206-354-4247.