Latinos are the fastest-growing student population in America and a new effort is now focused on leveraging the critical connection between their educational attainment and the future of our national economy. Today, Lumina Foundationlaunches a collaborative partnership designed to strengthen ventures in key metropolitan areas that show promise in improving the postsecondary attainment of Latino students.
Under the project, Lumina will provide a total of $7.2 million over a four-year period to 12 partnerships in 10 states with significant and growing Latino populations. The partnerships will leverage community leaders across key policy, education, business and nonprofit sectors to build, implement and sustain successful “place-based efforts” that capitalize on their local talents and ingenuity.
One of the participating organizations is The Hispanic Federation. It will partner with City University of New York (CUNY), NYC Latino social services agencies, the NYC Department of Education, Citibank and selected high schools to increase the number of New York City Latino college students who graduate with high-quality degrees. The CREAR Futuros project, which means “To create futures,” will build a “Community of Care” in which Latino students are encouraged to develop strong relationships with individuals vested in their achievement.
The projected outcome is that forty percent of participants of CREAR Futuros are expected to graduate.
“The Latino success project is the culmination of nearly two years of planning and engagement with many foundations and national leaders in the Latino community,” said Lumina President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “Through these partnerships, we aim to build bridges among leadership groups already working to improve Latino college student success.”
Grant support through the Latino program will provide an array of services to Latino students and families, including training in financial literacy, help with K12-to-college transfer and transition issues, and improved developmental courses designed to move students more efficiently toward credit-bearing courses. After extensive consultation with national, regional and local experts in philanthropy, Latino education, higher education and community engagement, Lumina Foundation has invited the grantees to focus on:
- Better data to drive decisions
- Connecting to the community
- Working in partnership
- Measuring all of these efforts
Lumina Foundation, through a national Goal 2025 movement, aims to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Lumina is keenly aware that Latinos are key to achieving this goal — and to the nation’s economic future.
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 workers 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.
“Latinos are emblematic of today’s 21st century student,” said Merisotis. “They are largely first-generation college students — many of whom are working adults, with family responsibilities who oftentimes begin their postsecondary education in community colleges. Increasing the access and degree attainment rates of Latinos is critical and our hope is that Latino Student Success will provide catalytic support that can have a positive impact on making all 21st century students more successful.”
“Lumina Foundation has set a high bar in fostering innovation and collaboration through much needed private-public partnerships to boost college completion among Hispanic students. We know that in order to ensure that Latino students are prepared for the high skilled jobs that exist now and the industries of the future, they need the real solutions that come from on the ground leadership in the very communities’ students and their families live, study and work,” said José Rico, deputy director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. “We applaud Lumina’s vision and dedication and look forward to the results of their work that will help reach President Obama’s goal to have our country once again, lead the world in college graduates.”
“A country’s most precious resource is its human resource. The Latino Student Success partnerships and their supporters will help build the country’s capacity to effectively meet the educational needs of the U.S. Latino community, and thus strengthen America’s bright future,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “We look forward to learning from their progress and to helping advance their promising practices.”