Breaking Barriers

An expanding, adaptable partnership is essential to mounting a sustained, comprehensive attack on the barriers that prevent Latino student success today. As an example, 74% of MDC students begin college academically underprepared and 16% of these students require English language instruction. To address these and other barriers, ¡HACER! brought together critical educational institutions, community and business organizations, Latino organizations, and policymakers to identify solutions and provide support to students and their families. The challenge is to get these services to the students and to align and coordinate them to better serve students and their families.

The ¡HACER! partnership engages organizations that have the experience and expertise needed to improve student success in Miami-Dade County. However, until now, their individual efforts have not been centrally coordinated to maximize the effectiveness of their resources. To realize its ultimate vision of a flourishing community anchored firmly in student success, the ¡HACER! partnership has marshaled its resources to help ensure that every student within its reach completes a college degree. The partnership‘s shared vision is to create a network of support for students to ensure college readiness in all aspects. Once students are enrolled in college, the partnership will work to maintain that network of support to ensure that students complete a degree and transition to the next phase of their careers.

It is anticipated that the alignment and contributions of the partners and their respective services will result in the following specific student outcomes:

  1. Increased awareness of the importance of a college education
  2. Increased percentage of students completing high school
  3. Increased percentage of students enrolling in college
  4. Increased percentage of students completing the financial aid applications (including FAFSA) and securing other forms of aid
  5. Decreased percentage of students placing into developmental education
  6. Increased percentage of students completing developmental education
  7. Increased percentage of students completing postsecondary certificates and degrees
  8. Increased percentage of students transferring to a four-year program or finding employment within one year of graduation from a two-year program

Since its inaugural meeting in August 2011, the ¡HACER! partnership has expanded to embrace additional community organizations and institutions and has evolved to become a true working team. ¡HACER! currently includes seventeen partners representing six key sectors of the community:

  1. Community-based organizations (College Readiness Institute, College Summit, Education Fund, iMentor, Single Stop USA, UAspire);
  2. Latino-serving organizations (South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Univision);
  3. K-12 educational systems (Miami-Dade County Public Schools);
  4. Higher education system and institutions (College Readiness Institute, Miami Dade College, Florida International University, Single Stop USA);
  5. Employers (Bank of America, Beacon Council, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce); and,
  6. Policymakers (City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade County District School Board).

The partnership will continue to expand as it identifies additional organizations, institutions, and individuals who can contribute to its work and in response to the needs of the evolving Latino community.