June 8th, 2012
Lisa Palley, Palley Promotes
Amber Cruz, Mobilize.org
Five Student Ideas for Improving College Completion Rates Win Funding at Miami Summit
Under Secretary of U.S. Department of Education Dr. Martha J. Kanter, Sen. Bob Graham, Knight Foundation and other local leaders in attendance as community college students discuss solutions to low graduation and civic participation rates
Over 100 South Florida community college students gathered in Miami, Fla., this week to share challenges they face in achieving their academic goals and suggest solutions to overcoming them.
The top five ideas, proposed and voted on by summit participants, won a share of $25,000 and a year of expert support to implement the ideas on campus, in their community, or online. Ideas were judged on potential social impact, creativity and innovation, sustainability, and the use of new and social media.
According to a report by Complete College America, only 12 out of every 100 Florida community college students will graduate with a post-secondary credential within four years. In 2020, it is estimated that 63 percent of jobs will require a certification or college degree.
The Mobilize.org Target 2020 Florida Summit, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was held June 1 – 3 at the Deauville Beach Resort and focused on boosting community college completion rates and increasing the participation of Miami’s Millennial Generation in civic life.
Miami’s Millennials are among the least civically engaged in the country, according to a new report released at the summit by Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, Congressman Lou Frey, and the National Conference on Citizenship.
“The results of the Miami Millennial Civic Health Report underscore how critical it is for Millennials in Miami to get involved in addressing the unique challenges that face our generation, “ said Maya Smith, CEO of Mobilize.org, the nonprofit organization that hosted the summit. “There are some steep hills to climb, but the creativity and energy of the students is palpable. The momentum generated at this summit will have an impact way beyond the weekend.”
Students from Miami Dade College InterAmerican, Miami Dade College Wolfson, Miami Dade College Hialeah, Miami Dade College North and Broward College South were selected to receive funding and a year of expert support from Mobilize.org.
The winning projects are:
High School Community Outreach: To address the problem of low graduation and completion rates of undocumented students, a program will target and educate teens from 9-12th grades on their educational options, such as scholarships and institutions that welcome students regardless of their legal status. By partnering with community groups already working on the issue, creating a website and distributing informative podcasts and YouTube videos, the project aims to encourage young students of all backgrounds to become more civically involved in their communities. (Miami Dade College InterAmerican)
“My College Guide”: To increase the number of students who are active in student organizations and activities, a student-run editorial magazine will help increase knowledge of available activities. It will provide information about organizations on campus, upcoming academic events, campus maps, student resources, scholarships and more. It will also provide community service and service learning opportunities. (Broward College South)
Students’ Excellent Expansive College Experience: To provide individual and specialized assistance to struggling students, a new center will offer personal tutoring, advisement and other types of academic and moral support. (Miami Dade College – Hialeah, North and InterAmerican campuses)
Improving Graduation Rates with a Four-Course Success Sequence: To increase college completion rates, a series of four workshops will better prepare students for their futures. The workshops, available for 100 students, will adopt and modify Student Life Skills courses and focus on issues like study skills, transition preparation for four-year colleges, job placement courses and more. If successful, the project aims to expand the workshops into a larger set of courses available for credit and to the entire student population. (Miami Dade College InterAmerican)
Breaking Down the Barriers: To empower women to make informed decisions that positively affect their college completion efforts, a new program will provide a support network to students. By tackling barriers that women face with respect to college completion, like pregnancies and other unhealthy life choices, the program will help build confidence and self-esteem through support groups, panel discussions and interactive workshops. (Miami Dade College Wolfson)
The summit’s keynote address was delivered by Dr. Martha J. Kanter, under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, a former community college president and chancellor in California and the first community college leader to serve in the under secretary position.
Other presenters included Dr. Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College, Isa Adney, author of “Community College Success,” Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Dr. Lenore Rodicio, the executive director of the Miami Dade College Student Success and Completion Initiatives, and Damian Thorman, National Program Director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funded the Target 2020 Florida Summit.
Local partners of the Target 2020 Florida Summit included the Miami Chapter of AmeriCorps Alums, Catalyst Miami, College Summit, HandsOn Broward, Miami Dade College Center for Community Involvement and Public Allies Miami. Other national summit supporters included the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education.
“Mobilize.org believes that Millennial community college students have the unique experiences and innovative ideas that will change the future of education and civic health across the country,” said Enista. “Summits like this one are critical because they provide the space and resources for Millennials to come together and take the reins of their own future.”
Mobilize.org is currently organizing another summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will bring together Millennials from across the country to discuss and propose solutions to the pressing challenges facing their generation for the 2012 election and beyond.
Civically active Millennials are invited to submit their ideas to increase civic engagement and post them online. Those who receive the most votes will be invited to participate in the Millennial Civic Engagement Summit in Charlotte at the end of August.
Mobilize.org empowers and invests in Millennials to create and implement solutions to social problems. Utilizing technology and social networking to connect Millennials on and offline, Mobilize.org convenes Millennials from around the country to discuss issues impacting the Millennial Generation and to develop sustainable solutions to address them.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.
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