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Highline College
P.O. Box 98000
MS 99-180
Des Moines, WA 98198
Program Contact Julie Pollard
Phone 206.592.3526

ACHIEVE is a college certificate program for students with intellectual disabilities that includes credit and non-credit classes, intensive advising, involvement in campus life, participation in community based internships, and assistance with job placement. The ACHIEVE certificate program at Highline College provides opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) to continue their education post high school, develop and enhance academic and employment readiness skills in an inclusive community college setting, plan and prepare for a career based on interests and skills, gain job skills in real community based businesses, make lasting friendships, and much more.

All ACHIEVE students are assigned an Intensive Academic Advisor and Employment Consultant who work with the student to draft and implement a comprehensive, individual program of study.

ACHIEVE focuses on three core compentency areas: Classroom, Campus and Career. Students work with advisors to choose classes based on skills and competencies needed to achieve identified academic and career goals. In order to foster community involvement and develop self-advocacy skills, students are required to participate in campus life activities as well as use typical college resources. All students participate in career development experiences, including paid and unpaid internships. Students link with our Employment Services during their final year of the program for assistance with job placement, training and retention. Additionally, students develop a portfolio of evidence that showcases the skills and compentencies developed throughout the program. It is the goal that all students graduate with their certificate, first job and a path to lifelong learning and career.

Public or private: Public
Type of school: 2-year community college or junior college
Is this program a federally funded TPSID program? Yes
Students in this program:
  • Have graduated or exited from high school
  • Are still enrolled in high school
Number of students: 53
School district or agency partner: ACHIEVE partners with multiple area school districts to serve students in transition. During the 2017-18 academic year, we are partnering with 8 school districts.
Deadline to apply to this program: March
Requirements for admission to this program:
  • Must be at least 18
  • Must want to go to college and get a job Must have an intellectual/developmental disability Must be eligible and willing to apply for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) services Must be able to independently navigate campus after initial training and support Must be willing to follow program timelines
Accepts out-of-state students: Yes
Please indicate which disabilities students in this program have:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism
  • Students in the program all experience intellectual disability. Students have identified as having other labels as well.
Program length: Varies from student to student
Acceptance, Retention, and Completion Rates
Percent of students applying who are admitted: 100%
Retention rate: 71%
Cost of the program:

Students pay the typical cost per credit for college courses. The Highline College tuition and fees schedule can be found at

Additional costs: $0.00

Students can access adult employment services during and after the program. These services are typically funded by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and/or Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA).

Is this program able to provide federal financial aid as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP)? Yes
Students pay for the program in the following ways:
  • Private pay (student and family)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Adult intellectual/developmental disability state agency funds
  • Local School District funds
  • Federal Financial Aid
Scholarships available:

Students in the program are eligible to apply for some Highline College scholarships. We have had a recipient of the Ruby's Rainbow scholarship attend the program as well.

Students take these types of "typical" courses (with students who don't have disabilities):
  • Typical college courses for credit
  • Typical college courses for audit
  • Typical Continuing Education courses
More about course access:

To earn an ACHIEVE Certificate, students must enroll in a minimum number college credits. Students may select courses from general Highline College courses and Continuing Education classes offered on the Highline campus. Students work with their teams to determine which classes will best help them to achieve academic and career goals, and meet certificate credit requirements and learning outcomes.

Students may opt to take courses for credit or audit a course depending on their ability meet the course prerequisites and their specific desired learning outcomes. Students who choose to audit do not earn a final grade nor credit for the course in the traditional manner; rather, they earn credits toward an individualized, college-approved ACHIEVE certificate. Students auditing courses work in partnership with course faculty to develop measurable learning outcomes and a plan to evaluate progress with the support of the Advisor.


Students take courses that are only for students in this program: Yes
Information on special classes:

Students participate in a program specific orientation prior to the beginning of their first quarter. Additionally, students take an advising seminar class that guides them through the development of their capstone portfolios.

Classroom/academic time spent only with other students in this program: Less than 25% of the time
Credential(s) students earn upon completing the program: Fast Track to Employment Certificate (36 credits) or Comprehensive Transition Certificate (72 credits)
The credential(s) is/are:
  • Approved by Institute of Higher Education
  • Just for students in this program
Percent of students in this program have paid work while attending the program: 50%
Other career development activities are:
  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Community Service
Percent of students in this program that had paid work after exiting the program: 80%
We offer the following specialized credentials:

Students are able to earn other certificates while completing the ACHIEVE certificate depending upon how the student accesses the curriculum (credit/audit). ACHIEVE students have earned ceritificates in Urban Agriculture, Early Childhood Education, Customer Service, Office Support, Human Services, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Youth Development.

Housing is provided to students: No
Students participate in student organizations on campus: Yes
Proportion of time spent only with other students in this program: Less than 25% of the time
Students have participated in these social/extracurricular activities and organizations:

ACHIEVE students are full members of the Highline College community. They have access to all student clubs, organizations and leadership development opportunities. Not only do students participate in clubs, ACHIEVE students host their own clubs. In fact, ACHIEVE students have won awards from the Highline College Center for Leadership and Service for developing clubs that are popular and well attended by the general college population.

Last updated: Sunday, February 17, 2019 - 17:23