Several Rio Grande Valley post-secondary schools ranked near the top of a list of U.S. institutions in graduating Hispanics, according to a new report.
Raising the educational level of Hispanics is a crucial step in bolstering America's workforce, the study said.
The report from Excelencia in Education, a Washington-based nonprofit organization, listed the top 25 institutions graduating Latinos and ranked the University of Texas at Brownsville in several academic levels. The University of Texas--Pan American also ranked, as did South Texas College in McAllen, Kaplan Career Institute in McAllen and Kaplan College in Brownsville.
The "Finding Your Workforce" report said that it was not an analysis of the quality of the education received but rather a ranking of the numbers of graduates."The 'Finding Your Workforce' series is a straightforward informational tool to start looking for college-educated Latinos," the report said. "Business leaders and employers of all kinds should know which institutions lead the country in the numbers of Latino (graduates) produced each year."
The document said that most of the institutions on the list were designated as Hispanic-serving institutions and together produced close to 30 percent of the nation's Latino post-secondary graduates from 2009 to 2010.
"With Hispanics projected to comprise 75 percent of the growth in the nation's labor force this decade, it has never been more crucial that we raise the education level in our region, across the state and throughout the nation," Juliet V. Garcia, president of the UTB-TSC partnership, said in a press release about the report.
The Latino college completion rate contributes to national college completion goals and is increasing, but gaps remain, the report said. According to the UTB-TSC press release, 30 percent of adults in the U.S. hold a bachelor's degree or higher, while only 14 percent of Hispanics have reached the same level.
The report said Hispanics earned 10 percent of degrees and certificates awarded in the United States in 2009-10, most of which were bachelor degrees. The report did not rank any Valley institutions among the top 25 in graduating Latinos with doctoral degrees.
The report made no mention of Texas Southmost College, which continues the process of ending its partnership with UTB, despite the university receiving a higher ranking in graduating Latinos with associate degrees than bachelor's degrees.
According to the report, UTB ranked eighth in awarding associate degrees and 24th in graduating Latinos with bachelor's degrees.
"This achievement is a testament to the hunger for education in our region," Garcia said. "To meet this great need, our campus community has put an enormous focus on student success. We have enhanced the critical first-year experience of our students, enriched our advising, tutoring and mentoring programs, and we have worked to provide more student jobs on campus."
The launch of an autonomous UTB will help narrow the gap in the educational attainment of Hispanics, she said in the press release.
South Texas College
The report ranked South Texas College in three academic levels: certificate (less than one year), certificate (more than one year, but less than two years) and associate degree.
At fourth place, STC ranked higher than UTB in graduating Latinos with associate degrees.
STC ranked eighth in awarding certificates with more than one year of study.
Kaplan was higher than STC when it came to awarding certificates with less than one year of course study. Kaplan Career Institute in McAllen was ranked third, while Kaplan College in Brownsville was 20th. STC was ranked 21st in that category.
UTPA was the only Valley institution of higher education to rank in awarding master's degrees. The report put the school at seventh. UTPA also ranked higher than UTB, at seventh again, in awarding bachelor's degrees.
According to the report, Latinos have the fastest growth in post-secondary enrollment and completion, and labor force participation is the highest of any group.
"However, as long as the Latino educational attainment gap remains and labor force participation tends to be concentrated in lower-paying jobs, there is more work to be done," the report states.
The report notes that it uses the terms 'Latino' and 'Hispanic' interchangeably.
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