$180,000 to Boost LULAC Latino Grad Success, Edu Programs

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  • Salt Lake City — The 2015 Ford Driving Dreams Through Education League of United Latin American Citizens grantees now has $180,000 from Ford Motor Company Fund as they work together to promote on-time high school graduation and college enrollment among Latinos, the fastest-growing segment in public schools.

    The grantee recipients were announced today at LULAC's 86th Annual National Convention in Salt Lake City. Eight LULAC councils will each receive a $20,000 grant spanning two school years to implement a high school dropout prevention program in partnership with an educational entity. The eight grant recipients include: Chicago #313; Corpus Christi, Texas #1; Little Rock, Ark. #756; Milwaukee, Wis. #319; Moline, Ill. #5285; Sacramento, Calif. #2862; Stockton, Calif. #2060; Vancouver, Wash. #47013.

    Given their success, two grantees from 2013—LULAC Council #8035, Albuquerque, N.M. and LULAC Council #4933, Austin, Texas—were selected to receive a $10,000 grant from Ford to continue their programs for an additional school year. These model councils will continue programs that uniquely promote on-time high school graduation through student engagement activities such as mentoring and academic support. The eight new LULAC council grantees will begin to implement their programs this fall.

    "For six consecutive years, Ford Driving Dreams Through Education has activated local LULAC Councils around the country. Together we have made an extraordinary impact on more than 1,200 students by providing them with access to technology resources and innovative opportunities that help them achieve academic success,” said Joe Avila, manager of community outreach, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Education will always be a priority for Ford because there is still much work to do to ensure that Hispanics attain a solid education that will prepare them for the future."

    Since launching Ford Driving Dreams Through Education grants in 2010, LULAC Councils have been able to leverage their success. One of the first grant recipients, LULAC Council #326 in Milwaukee has made great strides since receiving the $20,000 grant to work with at-risk students in some of the most challenging public schools. The council used the grant to start a dual-enrollment program with the Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee Public Schools. The program has inspired these students to graduate from high school and then to transition college. For each class taken in the program, students earn credit towards high school graduation as well as college transferable credits.

    To date, the student participants in the council's program have achieved a 100 percent high school graduation rate and 100 percent college transition rate. As a result of the Ford Driving Dreams grant, the council has continued to raise and secure matching funds, resulting in a $485,000 grant from the Great Lakes Foundation to continue their educational programs and help more students.

    "LULAC has always placed great emphasis on education and leadership development of our youth," said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. "Although we have seen a decrease in the nation’s dropout rate, we must continue our efforts to ensure all students graduate from high school. Today, we congratulate the grant recipients for helping Latino students graduate and thank the Ford Motor Company Fund for its continued help in this effort."

    The educational success of the next generation is critical to the entire U.S. workforce. In the Latino community specifically, data from the Pew Research Center shows that the Hispanic high school dropout rate has declined and reached a record low. Yet, the Hispanic dropout rate remains higher than it is among African Americans, whites and Asians. Moreover, Hispanics still lag in obtaining a four-year degree even though they are the largest minority group on U.S. college campuses tripling the number of 18 to 24 year olds enrolled in a two-to-four-year college.

    The Ford Driving Dreams Through Education Grants were launched in 2010, and to date, 52 grant recipients have worked to keep more than 1,200 students on the road to graduation. The grant selection process considers the best practices for engaging students, including mentorship programs, after-school volunteer and extracurricular programs, and parental involvement. The winning programs also must be sustainable, reflect the local education landscape, and rely on partnerships with local education institutions.