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California Residents Earn No-Cost College Degrees Through's Working Scholars Program and Thomas Edison State University


MOUTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Just two and a half years after created the Working Scholars program to help select California residents earn no-cost college degrees, the first graduation ceremony was held to honor 18 graduates on Thursday, August 15 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Mountain View, CA. Working Scholars launched in January of 2017 in Mountain View and has since expanded to San Francisco, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, East Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Perris and the Ravenswood School District. It is a community-funded program that helps upskill the workforce of the future and combats economic inequality.

"We created Working Scholars because we knew people needed a flexible and affordable way to earn a college degree, which has become a necessity in today's world in order to unlock career mobility and a higher earning potential," said Adrian Ridner, Co-founder of Working Scholars and CEO & Co-founder of "The graduating Scholars have put in a tremendous amount of hard work to earn their degrees so quickly and are an inspiration to all of us. We're so proud of what they've accomplished, and I'm really honored to be here with them celebrating their achievements. It's also an honor to be here alongside their family, friends and members of the community that have all made this dream a reality. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all of the graduates and look forward to seeing even more participants earn their college degrees through the Working Scholars program in the future."

Students in the Working Scholars program complete college credit-recommended courses on and then transfer the credits to Thomas Edison State University (TESU), a four-year accredited state university. Participants complete final degree requirements at TESU and earn their degree from the university.

"At Thomas Edison we are committed to innovations that drive degree completion and the Working Scholars collaboration does just that," said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president, Thomas Edison State University. "We are proud to partner with in expanding access and affordability through an alternative credit pathway for busy working adults."

The graduation speakers were Adrian Ridner, Tom Phillips from Thomas Edison State University, State Assemblyman Marc Berman, Vice Mayor of Mountain View Margaret Abe-Koga, Mayor of Perris Michael Vargas, and Mayor of East Palo Alto and Working Scholars graduate Lisa Gauthier.

"As the Mayor of East Palo Alto, I'm constantly advocating for young people to pursue higher education and the Working Scholars program gave me the opportunity to make that dream a reality and lead by example," said Lisa, a single mother of three who had prioritized investing in her children's education over her dream of earning a bachelor's degree. "I'm very proud to earn my bachelor's degree and be part of the Working Scholars community."

Attendees included graduates, their friends and family, industry and city officials and non-profit thought leaders. Among the attendees was Jaime Fall, Director of UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute, who remarked, "Congratulations to the Working Scholars graduates and to and their partners for making this day possible. I've followed the Working Scholars program from the beginning and believe it is an incredible model to help people achieve their dream of a college degree, a door that is shut for far too many these days."

About Working Scholars
Working Scholars is dedicated to uplifting communities' economic and workforce development efforts by enabling working adults to obtain a debt-free college degree. We look to revitalize US communities and provide them a path to economic and workforce development through a college education. There are over 33 million US adults with some college credit but no degree who are ideal candidates for this effort.



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