Waubonsee Community College is one of three colleges in Illinois and the only community college in the state to recently receive a Title V grant to strengthen and expand educational opportunities for Hispanic and low-income students, but that is only the beginning.
As a Hispanic Serving Institution and under the Strategic Plan pillar of Student Equity and Success, the college is taking a deeper dive to reengineer what student success means for its more than 30% of Latinx students by having candid conversations around access, retention, graduation completion, and even the importance of increasing Latinx staff representation at the college.
Specifically, the college hired its first-ever Latinx Resource Manager, Franklin Ortega-Palaguachi, and his staff to build a new center that provides constant access to educational resources that acknowledge and affirm the importance of intersectional and holistic student development.
The Waubonsee Community College Latinx Resource Center (LRC), located at the Aurora Downtown Campus, provides resources, support services, community engagement, and educational experiences to support student's academic and social success, and provide a venue for all students to learn about Latinx culture, heritage, and traditions. Support and resources will help students address common barriers to success and completion, including paying for college, balancing family and school, and immigration.
Uniquely, the LRC will also partner with the college's Adult Education Department to provide resources and support to serve predominately Spanish-speaking students enrolled in the High School Equivalency or English Language Acquisition programs.
As further proof of its commitment to empowering Latinx students through the process, the college launched a new Financial Literacy Program to provide support measures for low-income Latinx students enrolled at Waubonsee who are at risk of dropping out.
"It is more than just keeping the status quos as a Hispanic Serving Institution. We need to love the process of exploring what our students and community members need, respond compassionately, and hold that vision up for all to see," said Ortega-Palaguachi.
Waubonsee Community College is a resource for people who want to change their lives through the power of education. Most individuals who go to college make more money, have better jobs, and have the opportunity to create generational wealth for their families. Waubonsee helps Latinx students embrace the beauty of the process by allowing them to earn that additional income and have those good jobs and careers for their families.
For more information on the Latinx Resource Center, contact Franklin Ortega-Palaguachi at email@example.com.