04 Oct

Major Latino Student Success Effort Underway in Miami

Miami, October 4, 2012 – Latinos are the fastest-growing student population in America and Lumina Foundation is pleased to support Miami Dade College (MDC) and its project, ¡HACER!, which is designed to increase the post-secondary attainment of Latino students. Lumina is investing more than $11.5 million in Latino Student Success (LSS) efforts across the country.

Under the specific LSS effort, Lumina is supporting local partnerships in 11 states that demonstrate a commitment to their growing Latino community. This grant effort encourages community leaders across key policy, education, business and nonprofit sectors to build, implement and sustain “place-based partnerships” that capitalize on their local talents. The Foundation is pleased to work alongside Excelencia in Education and FSG to provide technical assistance and evaluation support to each partnership.

“Lumina’s Latino Student Success effort is an integral part of our commitment to Goal 2025,” said Lumina President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “Through these partnerships, we aim to build bridges among leadership groups already working to improve Latino college preparation, access and attainment.”

Miami Dade College (MDC), with the largest Latino enrollment of any campus-based college or university in the U.S., will collaborate with community-based partners to close the achievement gap for Latinos in Miami Dade County, Florida. Known for its commitment to Latino student success (ranked first nationally for degrees awarded to Latinos), MDC will expand its efforts to design and implement a model pathway to college completion by: 1) providing more financial literacy resources and services to secondary/postsecondary students and their families; 2) designing professional development programs for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) counselors and ensuring completion of college applications for MDCPS students; 3) aligning MDCPS curriculum with MDC’s accelerated developmental education program with customized academic interventions; 4) aligning MDC’s curriculum with public four-year institutions in Florida and leveraging employer resources for scholarship and job opportunities (Transfer 2 + 2 + Work); and 5) developing a comprehensive public information campaign. Over the four-year grant, MDC will make significant strides in providing students access into college and achieving an 85% retention rate once enrolled. From college fairs to parents college awareness workshops to test prep boot camps, college tours, student life skills courses and more, MDC will redouble and innovate its efforts aimed at increasing Latino college attainment and completion rates.

“This initiative has no precedent. With Lumina’s support and the collaboration of our able partners, our intention is to turn the delivery of educational services to Latinos on its head so that attainment and completion numbers increase significantly,” said MDC’s Dr. Lenore Rodicio, vice provost for student achievement. “Targeting this large subset of our local community will also help us to understand what works for students of all demographics.”

At more than 50 million, Latinos represent the largest and fastest-growing population group in the United States. By 2025, half of the nation’s workforce will be of Latino descent. At that time, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education or training, according to labor economist Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The strength of this focused Latino student success effort is due to the dedication of many partners striving to reach a national college attainment goal. Lumina’s grant to MDC totals more than $600,000. MDC has joined forces with several important partners including Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida International University, The Education Fund, UAspire, College Summit, College Readiness Institute, Single Stop, iMentor, Bank of America, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Univision, the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, FCAN and others.

About Lumina Foundation: Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues Goal 2025 in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.

About Miami Dade College: Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest institution of higher education with an enrollment of more than 174,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of Associate in Arts and Science degrees and awards more degrees to minorities than any other college or university in the country. The college’s seven campuses and two centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film, engineering, biological sciences, and others. In fact, its academic and workforce training programs are national models of excellence. MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair International, Miami International Film Festival, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, a sculpture park and a large art gallery and theater system. MDC has served nearly 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949, testorin@mdc.edu, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu, media specialist

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