INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Latino Institute has received a grant of $2 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to provide more opportunities for students in the Latino community and help them become successful.
“It’s exciting,” said Indiana Latino Institute President & CEO Marlene Dotson. “It’s a great support and it’s an opportunity to move to the next level.”
According to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, in 2018, only 46% of Indianapolis high school graduates who are Latino went to college. That’s why the Indiana Latino Institute is doing all it can to change that.
“That’s alarming,” Dotson said. “So you have a 54(%) that are still lacking knowing that a great percentage of our Latino in Indianapolis are disproportionately poor in access to resources, access to financial aid.”
They want to increase that rate of high school graduates who are Latino in going to college to at least 65%, so the grant money will expand their education programming. It’ll also provide more internship and scholarship opportunities so that students are set up for success.
“Multiple internship opportunities, volunteer opportunities, exposure to career opportunities,” Dotson said.
The Indiana Latino Institute is one of 28 organizations being supported through Enhancing Opportunity in Indianapolis, an initiative designed to improve the livelihoods of people facing complex and varied challenges associated with poverty and financial insecurity.
Recognizing socioeconomic disparities between the Latino and other communities in Marion County, the Indiana Latino Institute, Ivy Tech Community College, IUPUI and Marian University are embarking on a five-year project designed to reduce poverty by significantly increasing postsecondary education attainment and strengthening career pathways and placement in good jobs for Latino students.
Kathleen Lee, Central Indiana region chancellor with Ivy Tech said, “Having many similar cohort-based programs at Ivy Tech Central Indiana, we know from experience that programs like this provide great outcomes for our students – and look forward to this new opportunity to work with the Indiana Latino Institute and create this pipeline.”
Adam P. Setmeyer, Marian University vice president of mission and ministry, said, “Marian University is thrilled to collaborate with the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI) in their initiative to Strengthen Pathways to Professional Careers.”
“Under the leadership of Marlene Dotson, ILI provides bold leadership with and for the Latino community in Indiana, and this initiative takes on the community’s most pressing challenges through a proven solution – higher education,” Setmeyer said. “By providing increased access, student support, and creative programming, the Indiana Latino Institute is sure to set young Hoosier Latinos on paths toward better careers.”
IUPUI says they can increase support services for Latino students and much more. Amy Conrad Warner, vice chancellor of the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, said, “The funding that will come to IUPUI will come as a sub grant from the Indiana Latino Institute and what that will provide us to do is to help pay Latino students scholarships and support.”
IUPUI also wants more Latinos at the downtown Indianapolis university. “We will also see individuals work more diligently with the staff we already have to recruit and invite more Latino students and their families to consider IUPUI,” Warner said.
The Indiana Latino Institute will also collaborate with Marion County school districts to reach more Latino students.
To learn more, call the Indiana Latino Institute at 317-472-1055.