‘EQUIPED’ for Success

If all goes well, technology education will be open to all who seek it.

Photo courtesy of Zip Code Wilmington.

Over the summer, the U.S. Department of Education unveiled eight unique post-secondary partnerships that will fall under a new federal student-aid experimental sites initiative. Wilmington University, in partnership with Zip Code Wilmington, was selected from entrants nationwide.

This initiative, called EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships), is an experiment that provides low-income students access to innovative post-secondary education partnerships that would not typically qualify
for federal student aid.

“We care deeply about the success of all students,” says Wilmington University Executive Vice President Dr. LaVerne Harmon. “Our hope is that those who embrace the EQUIP pilot program will reap many rewards, including a boost in their job prospects and earning potential.”

In recent years, alternative education providers have tried to address a variety of skills gaps in the labor market, such as the increasing need for software programming and coding skills, which is usually intensive, time-consuming and expensive.    Without federal student aid, these opportunities are rarely accessible for low-income students because they require out-of-pocket financial investments that can exceed $10,000 for 10 weeks.

The WilmU-Zip Code Wilmington partnership is unique: Both are nonprofits and both can adapt flexibly to the needs of the employment market. Once students complete the pilot program, they will be eligible for six-month internships at Zip Code partnership organizations as well as WilmU college credit. WU

—Lindsay Rice