Using Word to Earn a College Education

Organization Name
YWCA Seattle - King - Snohomish
Mission Statement

The YWCA's mission is to advance the quality of life for women of all ages, races and faiths, and their families. In support of this mission, the YWCA provides services to meet critical needs, promote self-sufficiency, reduce violence, eliminate racism and achieve equal opportunities for all people.

City & State
Question 1
The Before: What was the challenge, issue or problem your organization was facing? Or, what was the opportunity you were not able to take advantage of before you put a technology solution in place?

Answer: Within the next few years, 40% of NEW jobs will be “middle-wage jobs” that require less than a 4 year degree but more than a high school education. This is good news for people stuck in low wage jobs, but only if they have the resources to earn post secondary education. Only 35% of high school graduates and 29% of GED holders who enroll in community college complete their program. The College Attainment Project seeks to fix that by equipping students with the tools they need to succeed in school. One of the biggest challenges that holds people back from succeeding in college is technology skills and that is where Office 2007 comes in.

Question 2
What Microsoft software have you used/are you using in your organization to more effectively engage your beneficiaries, donors and/or volunteers and/or to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 (Includes any of the following: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, and Word)

Question 3
The After: How have these Microsoft products allowed you to engage your stakeholders more efficiently or effectively to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Through the College Attainment Project, we recruit students who want a college education but might not have the tools to navigate the system. Before they begin their classes at Seattle Central Community College, they come to the YWCA computer lab four days a week for eleven weeks to gain these tools. Students who may not otherwise have access to a computer get the chance to learn the ins and outs of Microsoft Office that will get them through college. Over the course of an academic quarter, students spend four hours a week learning Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Windows 7. Students spend an additional one hour a week learning Word in depth. At the end of the quarter, students take the Microsoft Office Specialist exam for Word and have an additional tool for college.

Question 4
What about these products (the features or the way you used them) made them particularly helpful in enabling your organization to expand and improve upon its community impact?

Answer: It’s the details in Word 2007 that make it accessible to all skill levels. With guidance from our talented computer instructor, students who have little experience with computers are able to succeed. Students love the visual nature of Word 2007 including screen tips, line previews and templates. They also take advantage of the features that directly impact students such as the citation inserts. These kinds of features save hours of tedious formatting and eliminate needless barriers for people to succeed in school.

Question 5
Please provide any examples, stories or data that illustrate the difference the use of Microsoft software has enabled you to make (i.e., # of new clients reached, new program added, increased dollars raised, increased volunteers, etc.

Answer: We wouldn’t be able to prep students for college if we didn’t teach MS Office and especially Word 2007. Word is ubiquitous in school and in jobs and our participants wouldn’t succeed without it. Our students are empowered when they learn all they can do with Office. One of our students who was timid about computers when she entered the class said, “I didn’t think I liked computers, but I love Word.” Being able to not only use a computer, but enjoy it is a huge gift. We have completed our first College Attainment Project quarter and by the end of the program we expect to equip 45 participants with the computer skills they need to succeed in school and obtain a good paying career.

Upload photos or other supporting works/files

Supporting Work Web URL
Special directions needed to access your work

Upload org logo or other identifying graphic