Reading, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller visited Reading Area Community College (RACC) on July 12 to highlight the department’s Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) program. KEYS assists students who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits pursue certificates, degrees, or credentials at Pennsylvania’s community colleges. The visit was the first stop on a statewide tour of KEYS programs at each of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges.
“The KEYS program is doing incredibly important work around the commonwealth to help Pennsylvanians in low-income situations access post-secondary education and training in a way that addresses and helps overcome the unique challenges and barriers students face,” said Secretary Miller. “This collaborative effort has a transformative impact on a person’s personal and economic trajectory, helping them truly achieve a better life.”
KEYS is a collaboration between DHS and Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. First established in 2005, KEYS has helped more than 15,300 people access post-secondary education and training.
“The fantastic work our staff is doing through KEYS and various training programs at RACC is very important to students who are becoming emotionally and intellectually independent,” says KEYS Program Coordinator and Student Facilitator Mary Turner. “The students at RACC show what individuals can do when they are given the tools to succeed.”
KEYS programs provide supportive services to students like assistance with school supplies, transportation, and child care. Students are also connected with mentoring and peer support relationships critical to helping them ease the transition back into school and overcome barriers to success in education. The KEYS program has an 82 percent retention rate and 78 percent of KEYS participants are in good academic standing.
“Too many single-parent families in Pennsylvania and around the country feel limited by their economic situation. We are committed to giving them the tools and supports necessary to help them change their family’s path and, most importantly, to help them realize that they are not alone in this journey,” said Secretary Miller. “Each of us can play a role in supporting parents and families seeking better lives, and KEYS and the Parent Pathways initiative will give us a vehicle to make this work possible in more communities.”
For more information, please contact the RACC KEYS Program at 610-372-4721.