Keystone Education Yields Success

Hye-yun Sohn, Web Editor

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Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) at Community College of Philadelphia is a student support program that is designed to provide appropriate support system for students who “receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) support in their pursuit of postsecondary education. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to meet regularly with program staff who will help them meet their educational goals.”

According to the Ms. Kimberly Daniel, KEYS Program-Project Director for the Division of Access and Community Engagement, “This year marks the 11th year anniversary of the KEYS Program at CCP. The KEYS Program is a unique supportive service that infuses education, employment and enrichment creating an empowering experience that accelerates student access into the workforce in advance of their associate degree or post-secondary certificate.”

Throughout 11 years of supporting CCP students, the KEYS Program was able to assist over 10,000 students. And this year, they said, they are proud to acknowledge the 5 students who are graduating from the College’s highly competitive nursing program with their support. As we hear these impressive and successful stories about the KEYS Program, the Vanguard decided to ask some questions in order for CCP students to have better understanding about the program.

Who is eligible for this KEYS Program? Is there any criteria?

Ms. Daniel: “Anyone interested in attending the College, and who is currently receiving public assistance, is eligible for the KEYS Program. The aim is that students currently receiving TNAF and SNAP benefits from the Department of Human Services would be better supported and transitioned into the workforce through enrollment into post-secondary programs. A college-level credential enhances vocational exposure, increases earning potential and enhances their employability. The program enlists the proven benefits of higher education and experiential learning to help students and their families become self-sufficient”.

How does the process go, once the eligible student applies to the program?

Ms. Daniel: “A student would request a direct referral to the KEYS Program from their County Assistance Office, which takes approximately 24-48 hours. Once the KEYS office receives the referral, [they] contact the student to schedule enrollment. It is a very quick process”.

We have been told that there are so many successful stories of students who got the support from the KEYS Program. Are there any unforgettable students’ cases if we may ask?

Ms. Daniel: “We service a myriad of students who encounter daily challenges, while diligently working to improve their life conditions. There are KEYS students who are homeless, one who recently lived with her 4-year-old son in her car for several months. We support those students in domestic abuse situations, and very recently a student who survived a horrific car accident, only to awake from a 2-month coma to find that 2 of her children, and fiancé, died as a result of the accident. She visited our office a few weeks ago, asking if she could return to our program. Many students look at the KEYS Program and staff, as a stable, safe, and reliable refuge”.

This student support system from the KEYS Program is absolutely valuable for CCP students who are going through unimaginable hardships in their lives. With CCP’s support and their continuous effort on helping those students to achieve their educational goals, the KEYS Program is an invaluable resource that is a great benefit of CCP to assist those transitioning through hardships to be self-sufficient in the real world.

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Keystone Education Yields Success