Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Latino Leadership and College Experience Camp (LLCEC) was honored today as being among America’s top programs that increase academic opportunities and achievement for Latino students. Elected officials and higher education leaders from across the country joined Excelencia in Education in Washington, D.C., to honor BCTC and other national finalists. BCTC’s LLCEC was selected from among 165 competitors from 22 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as one of 22 national finalists for the 2013 Examples of Excelencia recognition.
BCTC’s program is a unique experience that provides Latino youth with an intensive college preparation and leadership development experience. Simulating college processes, high school students from across Kentucky apply to participate in the camp that includes a creative mix of college-like courses, leadership development workshops, teambuilding activities, cultural experiences and social justice awareness. Participants are introduced to current college students, professors, community leaders and an extensive peer network.
Currently in Kentucky, only 17 percent of Latinos ages 25-64 have an associate’s degree or higher. According to the Council on Postsecondary Education, 61 percent of Latino students graduating from Kentucky’s high schools are not prepared for college. The LLCEC’s goal is to improve these numbers, and the preliminary data is promising. The program has served 260 students; of those who have completed high school 84 percent have enrolled in college. Participants have enrolled in nearly every Kentucky college or university and a variety of programs within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The first group of LLCEC students from 2006 has a 79 percent college completion rate, far exceeding the state average for Latino students.
“While we have a lot of work to do to ensure all of our students complete high school prepared for college, enter college, and successfully progress, this program has shown promise that, simply put, it works. By combining academic preparation with social support, students have been able to succeed,” Erin Howard, Director of BCTC Latino Outreach Office, said.
Excelencia in Education has systematically reviewed more than 500 programs to identify and recognize over 100 programs and departments that demonstrate with evidence that they effectively boost Latino enrollment, performance and graduation.
“As one of this year’s National Finalists, Bluegrass Community and Technical College is at the forefront of meeting the challenge of improving higher educational achievement for Latino students,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “No longer should policymakers and institutional leaders ask how to improve college success for Latinos – we have the largest accumulation of proven examples and tested strategies that show them how. Today’s question is do leaders have the will to put these practices into action.”