The University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) was awarded a College Access Challenge Grant from the Higher Education Coordinating Board in January that will allow OMA&D to administer a unique bilingual college access and training program.
Known by its Spanish name, Conocimiento de Colegio (College Knowledge) will help low-income farm worker parents and students, many of whom are Spanish speaking, gain an increased knowledge of higher education through the use of a set of newly developed guides titled “Roadmap to College.” Videos will also be used to enhance the guide material.
Ermelindo Escobedo was hired as the program Outreach Bilingual Specialist to design, market, and present the appropriate training modules to migrant and Spanish speaking populations in Eastern and Central Washington. Training topics include college admissions, “Why go to College?,” financial aid and scholarship information, college bound scholarships, applying to the college of your choice and an introduction to undergraduate student resources and academic programs.
“This program will reach out to Latino students and parents, and is unique in that it will present the sessions in their native language, in a comfortable setting, and will include a focus on addressing common concerns of the parents,” Escobedo said.
He is scheduled to present these training modules at schools; college prep programs such as Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP); community sites; migrant and bilingual education conferences for students and parents; and local churches. According to Escobedo, he is excited about the positive response from the community and its willingness to partner with the program.
The grant is administered by co-principal investigators Enrique Morales, OMA&D associate vice president, and Loueta Johnson, University of Washington GEAR UP director. Conocimiento de Colegio is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a contract with the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. The grant is funded for two years with a possibility of up to five years based on annual performance and a competitive renewal application.
Escobedo previously served as the director of outreach at Washington State University. In that role, he had the opportunity to travel throughout the state and engage the Latino community in higher education issues ranging from the admission process to graduation. He is fluent in Spanish and is sensitive to the needs of the Latino community as he was raised in a farm working community.
For more information, please contact Escobedo, Bilingual Educational Specialist, at 509-833-8601 or the UW Heritage Office at 509-865-8670.