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Pave the Way Conference

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Pave the Way Virtual

In lieu of an in-person conference in 2020, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) is hosting a series of webinars focused on strategies to advance equity, increase college readiness, and broaden access to higher education in Washington State. Pave the Way aims to ensure historically marginalized students receive the support they need to succeed. 

Next Up:

February 11, 2021 @ 9:00-10:30 A.M.  Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Regional Partnerships Supporting Adult Learners
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Over 229,000 people in Washington are unemployed, and several regional efforts are trying new equity-focused approaches to support adult learners. We will hear from college and community partners from Snohomish, Pierce, and Spokane to learn about strategies that include: multi-campus outreach, adult learner “peer” orientations, pre-enrollment financial help, and pre-enrollment coaching in partnership with 9 campuses. 

  • Panel 1: Expanding Supports to Adult Learners in Snohomish County
  • Panel 2: Providing Coaching to Prospective Adult Learners in Pierce County
  • Panel 3: Helping With Pre-Enrollment Financial Barriers - MicroGrant

Schedule & Registration

Schedule & Registration

Pave the Way Virtual webinars will take place via Zoom. Details of upcoming events in this series will be posted as they are available.

Date Time Topic Participate

Feb. 11, 2021

9:00–10:30 A.M.

Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Regional Partnerships Supporting Adult Learners


Jan. 7, 2021

9:30–11:00 A.M.

From Equity Gaps to Educational Debt: The Student Experience in Higher Education

View the Recording

Nov. 6, 2020

9:00–10:30 A.M.

Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education in Washington State

View the Recording

Oct. 22, 2020

1:00–2:30 P.M.

Unlocking Access to Postsecondary Enrollment—FAFSA/WASFA as a Key Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis 

View the Recording

Sept. 24, 2020

10:00–11:30 A.M.

Lessons on Recovery: The Value and Potential of Higher Education in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

View the Recording


February 11  Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Regional Partnerships Supporting Adult Learners

Panel 1: Expanding Supports to Adult Learners in Snohomish County

Fabian Fuentes, Program Coordinator at United Way of King County

Fabian Fuentes studied at the University of Washington where he got his bachelor’s degree in education, communities & organizations with a minor in diversity. Fabian has been working with Shoreline Community College for over a year now as a program coordinator for the United Way Benefits Hub. He has enjoyed focusing on retention efforts by supporting students with financial resources and is excited to continue to build on partnerships to increase the access to postsecondary education for adult learners.

Charlotte Gavell, College Success and Housing Stability Program Manager at United Way of King County

Charlotte Gavell is the College Success and Housing Stability Program Manager at United Way of King County where she leads the Bridge to Finish Campaign. Bridge to Finish is a county-wide effort designed to disrupt poverty by providing on-campus coordinated Benefits Hubs for non-academic services for community college students.   In this model, Charlotte works with institutions to break down barriers to academic success and builds relationships with local and national partners.  

Inez Olive, Outreach Recruiter at Shoreline Community College

Inez Olive oversees the outreach and recruitment for adult learners at Shoreline Community College. In her role, she develops outreach and recruitment strategies through process improvement, data analysis, and adult learner initiatives. Her passion for adult learners stemmed from her experiences of navigating higher education as a non-traditional student who identifies as a first-generation student of color. Inez is an advocate for reducing barriers to access to education for non-traditional learners. In addition to her commitment to serving adult learners, Inez volunteers as a student leader mentor for a non-profit organization in Snohomish County, where she mentors high school students to become leaders in their community through acts of community engagement and service. Prior to her higher education experience, Inez held various roles in the private sector in management, operations, human resource, and project management. Most notably, she has six years of experience managing a service team for a regional distribution company. Inez holds a Master of Science in Management and Leadership and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from Western Governors University. She is currently working on her doctorate in Educational and Organizational Learning and Leadership at Seattle University.

Panel 2: Providing Coaching to Prospective Adult Learners in Pierce County 

Dr. Darrell L. Cain, President at Pierce College, Puyallup

Dr. Darrell L. Cain is a well-known educator and a first-generation college student who utilizes education as an opportunity conduit. To earn income as a college student, he started an online sports apparel business called Logo Sports. After graduating from Indiana University, he recognized a passion for the field of higher education, working in the same environment which changed his life. Past positions include: working for Noel-Levitz in Atlanta as a retention consultant for various colleges and universities; faculty fellow in the Instructional System Technology Department at Indiana University- Bloomington; Dean for Academic Affairs at Atlanta Technical College; Vice President for Teaching and Learning at Eastfield College in Dallas; and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Ivy Tech Community College System.  Dr. Cain has served as the President for Pierce College, Puyallup, since July 2018. Dr. Cain received a Bachelor’s in Sports Marketing and Management from Indiana University, a Master’s in College Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Tech. 

Carrie Lockhert, Associate Vice President for Partner Success at Inside Track

Carrie Lockhert has spent the past 20+ years working in client management and business development roles providing higher education marketing, enrollment, and retention services to a myriad of institutions nationally and internationally. Prior to returning to InsideTrack, she managed a team of account managers at ESM and held various management and director positions during her tenure at Helix Education. As AVP of Partner Success, Carrie is responsible for developing new client partnerships and cultivating existing partnerships with a variety of different institutions including University of North Carolina System, Old Dominion University, BYU Pathway Worldwide, Franklin University, Rutgers, University of Washington Continuum College, and various CUNY and SUNY schools in New York.

Jack MacKenzie, Founder and President at CollegeAPP

Jack MacKenzie is the Founder and President of CollegeAPP, a higher education focused data analytics and consulting firm. CollegeAPP is a proprietary application of predictive analytics designed to help colleges and universities identify adults who have intent to acquire additional education. The CollegeAPP interactive, online dashboard enables target audience creation and individual file downloads for use in a variety of direct marketing campaigns. Prior to Mn8 Creative, MacKenzie spent twenty years as a Los Angeles-based media and entertainment market research executive.  During that time, he was credited with creating breakthrough research-based services including The Millennial Strategy Program™, America2014™ and EmotionalDNA™. MacKenzie serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elon University School of Communications and is a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee for the Campaign for Free College Tuition.

Rachelle Sharpe, Deputy Executive Director at Washington Student Achievement Council

Dr. Sharpe serves as Deputy Executive Director and has served WSAC for 15 years. She played a lead advocacy role to expand state need-based aid, develop an affordability framework for policy makers, and support the Roadmap to increase educational attainment. Rachelle led the development of the College and Career Compass initiative to recruit and retain adult learners, in partnership with 55 campuses. Previously, she spent 15 years on two- and four-year campuses in college access, admissions, and financial aid.

Mike Wark, Vice President for Strategic Advancement at Pierce College

Mike Wark is Vice President for Strategic Advancement for Pierce College, where he leads the district’s departments for Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Marketing and Communications, and Development. Wark has 30 years of experience in higher education, previously serving as Assistant Vice Chancellor for External Relations at University of Washington Tacoma. He holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from Central Washington University. Wark began his career as an Information Specialist in College Relations at South Puget Sound Community College. He then became the Director of College Relations at The Evergreen State College, and in 1998 joined the University of Washington Tacoma.

Panel 3: Helping with Pre-Enrollment Financial Barriers – MicroGrant

Jodi Brant, Education Attainment Navigator at Greater Spokane Inc.

Jodi Brant is the Education Attainment Navigator for Greater Minds, an initiative of Greater Spokane Inc, which launched in 2017. Jodi’s work includes assisting working adults with finding the support they need to return to school by evaluating their options, identifying opportunities, and matching their goals with the programs at local higher education institutions. She also works with businesses to establish an education attainment philosophy focused on closing the opportunity gap, along with incorporating tuition reimbursement programs and flexible work environments. Jodi comes with many skills and experiences having worked in and out of the higher education industry for 17 years, previously working with adult students as an advisor and recruiter at a local higher education institution.

Past Webinars

Past Webinars
January 7, 2021 @ 9:30-11:00 A.M.  From Equity Gaps to Educational Debt: The Student Experience in Higher Education
View the Recording

In partnership with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, FuturesNW, and the Washington Student Association, this session will focus on the postsecondary education experience of students who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). From Equity Gaps to Educational Debt: The Student Experience in Higher Education will reflect on whether Washington is achieving equity in postsecondary attainment and invite attendees to consider what the State should do to ensure an adequate higher education for all Washington students. The session will feature a panel of BIPOC students from various higher education sectors in Washington to understand the student experiences in postsecondary education and inform the opportunities and challenges for Washington.


November 6, 2020 Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education in Washington State
View the Recording

In the recent report Labour Market Relevance in Four US States: Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) looked at how graduates fared in the labour markets of four diverse states. While the research was carried out before the COVID-19 crisis, the key findings and policy recommendations in the report are even more relevant in the post-COVID recovery period, as countries seek to harness the potential of higher education to help citizens upskill and reskill. The presentation will focus on findings and policy recommendations for Washington, shedding light on areas of misalignment between graduate supply and demand, dispersion in graduate outcomes, and policies to help align higher education and the labour market and improve outcomes for all graduates in the state. Space is limited.


October 22, 2020  Unlocking Access to Postsecondary Enrollment—FAFSA/WASFA as a Key Strategy During the COVID-19 Crisis
View the Recording 
View the Slide Presentation

This webinar will highlight Washington’s challenge with improving FAFSA/WASFA completion rates. Increasing completion is the key to students accessing the state’s generous financial aid system, including the Washington College Grant (WCG). Despite the groundbreaking investment of the WCG, the state still has seen a consistently low financial aid completion rate. We will examine recent national evidence that suggests FAFSA filing rates may be lower during the current cycle for low-income students and students of color due to COVID-19 and show state data that points to existing racial disparities in FAFSA filing. 

WSAC is taking steps to address the challenge though Aim Higher Washington, an ambitious initiative to advance equity in postsecondary attainment through the support of FAFSA/WASFA filing. Join us and find out more about how you can be involved, with a presentation of data and research followed by a panel discussion focused on state and local efforts to increase FAFSA/WASFA completion. Space is limited.

September 24, 2020 – Lessons on Recovery: The Value and Potential of Higher Education in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
View the Recording

This webinar will highlight findings from WSAC’s recently released report Lessons on Recovery: The Value and Potential of Higher Education in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis. The report presents lessons from the Great Recession and observations from the growing body of evidence around students' and workers' experiences during the current crisis, highlighting COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on marginalized populations, and discusses priority areas for addressing educational inequities and economic challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Space is limited.


Visit our archives for information about past years' Pave the Way conferences.