Called Complete Tampa Bay, the new partnership initiative will provide free, personalized coaching and assistance for those with prior college or technical training experience

LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network (LEAP Tampa Bay), a network of more than 50 community partners committed to changing lives by connecting residents to education and training beyond high school, announced today a partnership with Complete Florida to re-engage local working-age adults in education and training. Called Complete Tampa Bay, the new partnership initiative will directly assist those with prior college or technical training experience by providing free, personalized coaching and support to help them complete their college degrees and/or credentialing programs.

“This hands-on approach to college and training enrollment will help streamline the often confusing and overwhelming process experienced by returning adult learners,” said Chuck Tiernan, director of LEAP Tampa Bay. “We’re thrilled to embark on this new partnership with Complete Florida that will, for the first time, allow our program to use a completion coach model to help this population not only re-enroll, but successfully move through the process to credential completion.”

Primarily funded by a grant from Lumina Foundation, Complete Tampa Bay’s personalized coaching model will help returning adult learners understand how to find available education and training options, what financial support may be available, access tutoring, and connect them to local education partners that can support the completion of their education and training goals. Complete Tampa Bay’s local education partners include: University of South Florida, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough Technical Colleges, and Pinellas Technical College.

An estimated 330,000 adults living in Tampa Bay have earned some credits but never completed their college degrees and/or credentialing programs, according to a 2017 American Community Survey. The Complete Tampa Bay initiative aligns with the state of Florida’s “Sail to 60” goal and the national “GOAL 2025” movement, all of which seek to have 60 percent of working-age adults holding such credentials and degrees.

In addition to supporting the re-enrollment of adults who already have credits, this initiative will strive to create new opportunities and remove barriers for the region’s African American, Hispanic, and low-income populations, which have historically experienced gaps in educational success.

“Complete Florida is thrilled to partner with LEAP Tampa Bay,” said Dr. Michelle Horton, director of Complete Florida. “LEAP Tampa Bay’s proven record of helping returning adult students finish a post-secondary certificate or degree enhances the quality of life for those living in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. That work is in perfect alignment with Complete Florida’s goal to increase degree attainment rates and keep the workforce and the economy of our state thriving.”

To contact a completion coach or learn more about the Complete Tampa Bay initiative, visit www.completetb.org or check out LEAP’s backgrounder to learn more about the inception of this initiative.

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