LULAC & Ford Driving Dreams Through Education
By Southwest Key on 08/20/2013 @ 07:54 AM
As school-age children prepare for school, hundreds of students from East Austin College Prep (EAPrep) will get an extra push this fall through a music-based high school dropout prevention program, Austin Soundwaves. Working with East Austin College Prep, LULAC Council 4933 will help East Austin students to remain engaged in school through an innovative music program with the Hispanic Alliance for the Performance Arts known as Austin Soundwaves.
EAPrep’s LULAC Council, one of eight winners of the Ford Driving Dreams Through Education grant from Ford Motor Company Fund, received $20,000 to implement a program that helps students achieve on-time high school graduation in East Austin over two years.
“We know that education is a strong equalizer in our society, and critical for the future success of Latino youth,” said LULAC National Executive Director, Brent Wilkes. “LULAC remains committed to education initiatives that help meet the needs of our growing country. We appreciate EAPrep’s LULAC Council and Ford’s commitment to help implement solutions that help more Latinos graduate on time from high school.”
“We are honored to have been selected as a Ford Driving Dreams Through Education grantee,” said Melissa Villarreal who will oversee the program at EAPrep. “We look forward to working together with Austin Soundwaves and volunteers to help motivate Latinos students in East Austin to continue their education.”
Recent studies indicate that even though dropout rates are decreasing and college enrollment is increasing for Hispanic youth, they continue to lag behind white youth in both measures. In Texas, education data indicates a high school earns $8,781 more each year than a high school dropout does. Roughly 129,300 students in Texas did not graduate from high school in 2011; the lost lifetime earnings for that class of dropouts alone total $18 billion. If Texas’s high schools were to graduate all students ready for college, the state would likely save as much as $462 million in college remediation costs and lost earnings. (Source: Alliance for Excellent Education)
“Education is a top priority at Ford and we understand its importance for the development of our future workforce for our company and for our nation,” said Joedis Avila, manager of community outreach, Ford Motor Company Fund. “As our country’s workforce expands, we are proud to support efforts that inspire Latino students to reach beyond and attain all their goals, and these efforts will all lead to a positive impact on our country’s future prosperity.”
The LULAC councils were selected based on how their proposals used best practices to engage students, such as mentorship programs, after-school volunteer and extra-curricular programs, and parental involvement. There are currently 28 sites implementing Ford Driving Dreams programs across the U.S.
For more information on Ford Driving Dreams Through Education, visit www.lulac.org/ford.