BILL REQ. #:  H-1492.1 


State of Washington62nd Legislature2011 Regular Session

By Representatives Hasegawa, Seaquist, Santos, Probst, Kenney, and Frockt

Read first time 02/09/11.   Referred to Committee on Higher Education.

     AN ACT Relating to creating a peer mentoring program; amending RCW 28B.12.055; and adding a new chapter to Title 28B RCW.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   The legislature finds that peer mentoring programs, such as the pilot program launched in fall 2009 at Western Washington University, provide tangible and long-lasting benefits for all elementary students, especially low-income students, students of color, and first generation students, by encouraging school attendance, setting aspirations for graduation from high school, increasing awareness of life options, and inspiring dreams of a higher education. The legislature further finds that, for the college student mentors, the experience provides a valuable opportunity to increase interest in career opportunities in the counseling and teaching professions. The legislature thus intends to expand the peer mentoring program across the state.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   By September 1, 2012, the six four-year institutions of higher education shall create and implement a peer mentoring program modeled after the pilot program launched in fall 2009 at Western Washington University. Working with the state board for community and technical colleges, each of the six institutions shall identify one or more community or technical colleges with which to partner in the program.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   The goals of the peer mentoring program are to:
     (1) Encourage at-risk elementary school students to complete high school and attend college, boosting the percentage of Washington students who continue on to college;
     (2) Provide positive role models for at-risk students and allow college students the opportunity to perform community service;
     (3) Strengthen relationships between the communities, the universities, the community colleges, and the public schools, and area youth;
     (4) Introduce at-risk students to college and provide them an opportunity to experience their public colleges and universities; and
     (5) Increase the number of youth who view going to college as both necessary and achievable.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4   Each of the six four-year institutions of higher education shall:
     (1) Recruit college students interested in serving as mentors to elementary school students;
     (2) Identify one or more local elementary schools with demonstrated need for a peer mentoring program;
     (3) Develop a curriculum to train college student mentors, for which college-level credit can be granted;
     (4) Develop any necessary contracts or interagency agreements to facilitate program implementation;
     (5) Provide ongoing support and oversight of the program;
     (6) Solicit grants, awards, and gifts from individuals, businesses, agencies, and foundations;
     (7) Provide community outreach and publicity for the program;
     (8) Develop appropriate outcome measures and evaluate the program at regular intervals; and
     (9) Together with its community and technical college partners, and in close collaboration with other community and institutional partners, submit a report to the legislature by December 1, 2013, and December 1st of each odd-numbered year thereafter, that includes an evaluation of the program and outcome measurements.

Sec. 5   RCW 28B.12.055 and 2009 c 215 s 12 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) Within existing resources, the higher education coordinating board shall establish the work-study opportunity grant for high-demand occupations, a competitive grant program to encourage job placements in high-demand fields. The board shall award grants to eligible institutions of higher education that have developed a partnership with a proximate organization willing to host work-study placements. Partner organizations may be nonprofit organizations, for-profit firms, or public agencies. Eligible institutions of higher education must verify that all job placements will last for a minimum of one academic quarter or one academic semester, depending on the system used by the eligible institution of higher education.
     (2) The board may adopt rules to identify high-demand fields for purposes of this section. The legislature recognizes that the high-demand fields identified by the board may differ in different regions of the state.
     (3) The board may award grants to eligible institutions of higher education that cover both student wages and program administration, including institutions participating in the peer mentoring program in chapter 28B.--- RCW (the new chapter created in section 6 of this act).
     (4) The board shall develop performance benchmarks regarding program success including, but not limited to, the number of students served, the amount of employer contributions, and the number of participating high-demand employers.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6   Sections 1 through 4 of this act constitute a new chapter in Title 28B RCW.

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