La Raza in Chicago Creates a College Path for 45 Students in Disadvantaged Communities
Chicago, IL—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, has created an opportunity for young Latinos to excel in high school with a pathway to college and careers through its national Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success. The NCLR Escalera Program was created in collaboration with and through the support of the PepsiCo Foundation and PepsiCo Inc. to promote economic mobility for Latino youth by increasing educational attainment, career planning, and access to information about advanced careers. This year, the Escalera program in Chicago will graduate 45 students. The ceremony will take place at La Villita Community Church on Saturday, September 26 at 11:00 a.m CDT.
Many students who participated in the NCLR Escalera Program have overcome tremendous barriers. This year’s graduates reside in neighborhoods characterized as economically disadvantaged across the southwest side of Chicago. According to the 2000 Census, of 26,967 youth in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, 67% of youth ages 16 to 24 are out of school and 43% are jobless. The Escalera Program has exposed youth in these neighborhoods to work experience and job skills to prepare them for advanced careers. Of the 45 youth who will be recognized for successful graduation from high school and the NCLR Escalera Program, 96% have enrolled in college this fall.
“NCLR is proud to not only have created a pathway to a college education, but also to see so many of its participants succeed at accomplishing goals they thought weren’t possible,” said Simon Lopez, NCLR’s Senior Director of Workforce and Leadership Development.
The Escalera Program has been implemented in seven cities throughout the country. To date, 94% of enrolled students have completed the Escalera Program and graduated from high school, and 91% have enrolled in postsecondary institutions. By 2010, the NCLR Escalera Program will have served nearly 1,200 Latino youth nationwide.
WHAT: NCLR Escalera Program 2009 Graduation Ceremony
WHO: Guest Speakers:
Simon Lopez, Senior Director of Workforce and Leadership Development, NCLR
Representatives from PepsiCo Inc.
Representative from Instituto del Progreso Latino
WHEN: Saturday, September 26, 2009 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: La Villita Community Church
2300 S Millard Avenue
Chicago, IL 60623