A Helping Hand to Success Launching our first-ever scholarship program for UW certificate students
  • May 1, 2017
A Helping Hand to Success Launching our first-ever scholarship program for UW certificate students
  • May 1, 2017

Motivated by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to keep learning and advance their careers through education, the University of Washington Continuum College launched a new certificate scholarship program for Washington state residents this week.

UW Continuum College, which offers more than 100 certificates through UW Professional & Continuing Education, has created the UWPCE Certificate Scholarship program to help prospective students overcome financial barriers and reap the benefits of further education.

“Our world is changing and education is changing as well,” says UW Continuum College Vice Provost Rovy Branon. “We are excited to kick-off this new initiative by awarding 10 income-based scholarships for select certificate programs starting this fall.” 

Increasing Opportunities and Access 

Today’s professionals must continue to upgrade their skills and add new ones to keep up with the latest industry developments, experts say. New technologies and changing job roles and requirements mean that further education is necessary for people to advance their careers.

“Continual learning has never been more critical to people’s professional success,” explains Branon. “Our new scholarship program helps ensure that adult learners who struggle to afford more education have access to opportunities that can boost their careers and improve their lives.”

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.

Rovy Branon, Vice Provost, UW Continuum College

Delivering in-demand skills

The five scholarship-eligible certificate programs — offered in Seattle, Bellevue and online — were selected for their relevance to today’s workplace needs. These programs are:

Scholarship awards are based on the potential for the certificate program to impact the applicant’s career path. Only Washington state residents can apply, and applicants must not exceed household income limits. Full details on eligibility criteria can be found on the UWPCE Certificate Scholarship page.

Breaking down barriers to success

UW certificate programs prepare thousands of freshly trained employees for in-demand “pathway” jobs — positions 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.”

This is definitely 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.

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

“Disability is the one demographic that any of us can fall into at any time,” 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’s current project is developing a triathlon training program for low-income athletes. She’s also part of a mobile computer lab initiative, which provides access to technology and digital literacy skills for residents of nine Seattle public housing communities. 

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

Helping make a difference

Want to help support continuing education? Individuals and businesses can now donate to the scholarship fund via the UW Continuum College site. Contributions will help grow the scholarship program, which means increased opportunity for even more students 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 greater access to high-demand career skills.”  

For more information about scholarships, including how to apply, visit the UWPCE Certificate Scholarship page. The application deadline is July 10. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit the Make a Gift page.


For more announcements from UW Professional & Continuing Education, visit the News & Features section of our website. To learn more about our certificates, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.