Community Leaders Launch CAMINO
(Oct. 5, 2012) Armstrong President Linda Bleicken, Savannah State University President Cheryl D. Dozier and Savannah Technical College President Cathy S. Love gathered with area public education leaders and partners from business and human service agencies to announce the launch of CAMINO, designed to double the number of Latino students who enroll and complete college in the Coastal Empire. The local announcement followed on the heels of Lumina Foundation’s national announcement of its Latino Student Success efforts, including a $600,000 investment in CAMINO as the only program selected in Georgia.
CAMINO, the College Access Mentoring Information and Outreach program will double the number of Latino students matriculating at Armstrong, Savannah State University and Savannah Technical College by 2015. CAMINO will work with public schools and area non-profits to serve students and families in Chatham, Liberty, Tattnall and Toombs counties through:
• CAMINO PREP- a pre-college pipeline program that serves students in the 9th–12th grades;
• CAMINO PADRE - a parent engagement program for Latino parents of first-generation college students
• CAMINO ESCOLAR - enhanced college support services for Latino students attending the three participating colleges and universities; and
• CAMINO ABC (Adults Back to College) a targeted marketing, recruitment and admissions counseling efforts to reach older Latino students who have earned some college credit but lack a degree or credential.
In addition to the education partners, CAMINO includes the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Junior Achievement and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
“Our organizations have defined this partnership and these activities together over the course of this past year to have the greatest collective impact in our community,” said CAMINO Program Manager Ruth Duran-Deffley. “We know that we can accomplish much greater success collectively than any single organization can by itself.”
Latinos represent the largest and fastest-growing population group in the United States, according to US Census data from 2011. Projections are for an 80 percent population growth among Latinos nationally between 2010 and 2050. 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.
Local census data show that between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population in the 4-county region grew by 78.45 percent, far surpassing the growth rate of any other ethnicity. Savannah-Chatham experienced a Latino population growth rate of 166 percent. Latino students are not enrolling in and graduating from college at the same rate that their non-Latino peers. In 2011, 21 percent of Latinos had an associate degree or higher in Georgia, compared with 57 percent of Asians, 44 percent of Caucasians and 30 percent of African-Americans, as reported by Excelencia in Education (2012).
Says Duran-Deffley, “The bar is often set far lower for all our students than it should be. Even Latino students who are doing well academically are not always steered toward college prep classes. It comes as no surprise, then, that many of our students have only limited expectations for themselves and their future. Our task is to help Latino parents and young people to feel inspired.”