Mentorship Programs Work

Addressing a Completion Gap

The focus of Project Baldwin is on Black, Latinx, Native American, and Asian Pacific Islander males, who typically complete programs at rates twelve to fourteen points below their White and Asian peers. The reasons for this gap are numerous, from being likelier to grow up in poverty, to suffering a higher number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), to attending resource-starved institutions during the K-12 years, to being surrounded lifelong by racist assumptions resulting in feeling insecure in their own skills, talents, and accomplishments.

Evidence shows that the extra support of mentoring can make a life-changing difference for all students, but especially students of color and particularly men of color.

Mentoring on a Wider Scale

Seattle Colleges is at the forefront of community colleges that have embraced and pioneered innovations. Still, as we work to develop and broadly integrate today’s best practices in education, something is missing: wide-scale student mentoring.  

Existing mentorship programs at Seattle Colleges—like the federally-funded TRIO program, operating at North, Central, and South, and Ready! Set! Transfer! (RST), funded by the National Science Foundation—have seen success in building identity, confidence, and completion and transfer rates. The challenge is these and other mentoring programs reach only a fraction of the students who could benefit. For example, in 2018 South Seattle College had nearly 4,000 TRIO-eligible students, but funding sufficient for only 191.

Hearing from Students

The overall goal is to develop a network among students and mentors across all our colleges—students like Nahom and Myron.

Nahom, a student Myron, a student
Nahom's Story  Myron's Story

Initial results are encouraging. For example, Springboard8 at Seattle Central, now part of Project Baldwin, began as a pilot in 2021. Seattle's King5 TV reported on the success of the program in its first year.