WELI – Women’s Community College Support Program

Women’s Education & Leadership Institute (WELI) is designed to increase the leadership capacity, workforce skills, and college completion rates of women in the Salinas Valley.
WELI supports female students who are socially, educationally and economically disadvantaged, especially those who are single parents and re-entry students.

Measure Success

WELI measures longitudinal success of participants by examining what percentage of participants remain in college (persistence), pass their courses (success), and graduate with a certificate or degree (completion).


Since it’s inception in 2011, WELI has awarded $325,000 in scholarships to seven cohorts (175 women total) and has engaged over 50 women leaders as volunteer presenters and mentors.
A six year analysis of program participants (2011 to 2016) revealed the following results:
Overall Hartnell Course success: 86%
Overall Hartnell Retention: 91%
Overall Fall to Spring Persistence: 88%
The following data is the completion rate based on cohort year:
2011 cohort: 72% completed a certificate or degree
2012 cohort: 81% completed a certificate or degree
2013 cohort: 88% completed a certificate or degree
2014 cohort: 85% completed a certificate or degree
2015 cohort: 52% completed a certificate or degree*
2016 cohort: 42% completed a certificate or degree*

Why This Matters

The WELI Program increases retention and graduation rates for women through life skills training, mentoring, financial awards, and ongoing support and engagement activities.  

What’s Next?
“The ideal scenario would be that [the women] return as mentors,” explains Moreno.
However, simply sustaining WELI as is would be a success.
Through the generous support of the community, the program is very close to growing a self-sustaining endowment which will provide scholarships to future cohorts, which is the first step in this sustainability.  


Female College Students


Hartnell; Women’s Education & Leadership Institute

Sponsoring Organizations