Removing Barriers to Latino College Success
"Do you know what semillas means? Or crecer?" asks Mimi Blaber, a senior director in LaGuardia Community College's (LCC) adult and continuing education department.
In Spanish, semillas means seeds and crecer to grow, and both words are apt for the supportive work done at LCC, a City University of New York campus where more than 50 percent of students are immigrants from more than 100 countries. Recently, the nonprofit Excelencia in Education honored Blaber and her colleagues for their efforts to support students as they transition from popular non-credit adult programs (like GED classes) to degree-granting programs, a necessary but difficult part of the journey to middle-class life in America.
"They come here because they're hoping to have a better life and often they see education as the door to a better life," said David Housel, an assistant director who coordinates the support of social workers for students. "They know you need a degree or a certificate to get a job. They understand that. Especially in New York, those entry-level manufacturing jobs are gone. But sometimes they need support to fulfill those motivations."
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