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Human Relations

Posted on: September 30, 2020

Winston-Salem Selected to Study Barriers for Postsecondary Students

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NEWS RELEASE
Human Relations
Sept. 30, 2020

The city of Winston-Salem has been selected to participate in a new initiative organized by the National League of Cities aimed at removing barriers to housing, transportation and other basic needs that can prevent students from completing degrees, certifications or other credentials needed to gain access to rewarding careers.

The league announced this week that Winston-Salem and 12 other cities have been selected to participate in its Community of Practice on Addressing the Basic Needs of Postsecondary Students. 

Over the next 12 months the city will engage in monthly peer-to-peer virtual learning opportunities and receive tailored technical assistance from NLC’s staff and national content experts to help advance the city’s efforts in supporting local students.  A 2016 study by Georgetown University found that Americans with some type of postsecondary credential earn 25 percent more on average over their lifetimes than those with only a high school degree or less, said Audrey Hutchinson, the director of education and expanded learning at the National League of Cities.

“As high levels of educational attainment are directly linked to a city’s economic vitality and well-being, there is a great incentive for municipal leaders to support and promote postsecondary credential attainment,” Hutchinson said.

Each participating city is to focus on a specific basic need for the coming year. Winston-Salem will focus on the barrier of fair and affordable housing and food insecurity, said Wanda Allen-Abraha, the city’s director of human relations. 

“The city’s 2018 housing study identified a substantial shortfall in affordable housing for those making 80 percent or less of are median income.” Allen-Abraha said. “The shortage of affordable housing is even more acute for students who typically make even less. And now, due to the pandemic, many employment opportunities open to students have been greatly reduced or eliminated.”

Winston-Salem State has agreed to serve as the city’s educational institution partner for the grant, and will assist the city in identifying students who need housing and food assistance as consequences of limited resources due to the pandemic, Allen-Abraha said. WSSU will also provide feedback as the city develops collaborative solutions to the issues.  

The city’s College Advisory Board, comprising students in local colleges and universities, will assist the city and WSSU as they develop the plan, Allen-Abraha said.

The NLC initiative is supported by the ECMC Foundation, a national foundation working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds.