IN THE SPOTLIGHT
School of Education receives federal funding for program aiding migrant and seasonal farm workers
When Ludivina Calderon enrolled in the CU-Boulder BUENO Center’s High School Equivalency Program, or HEP, courses, she likely had no idea how far the program would take her from working the fields between Texas and Colorado.
After earning her General Educational Development, or GED, certificate in less than a year, Calderon was accepted into the BUENO Center’s College Assistance Migrant Program – a program that provides migrant and seasonal farm workers a one-year scholarship. The program is offered through the CU-Boulder School of Education.
A nontraditional and honors student, Calderon has completed one year of study at Aims Community College and will earn her associate of arts degree in the spring of 2010. Then she plans to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado where she will major in interdisciplinary studies while earning a K-6 elementary teaching license with a state endorsement in bilingual education and English as a Second Language.
To assure the continued success of HEP, the CU-Boulder School of Education’s BUENO Center has been awarded $474,324 in federal funding to continue the program.
The program helps migrant and seasonal farm workers in Colorado obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma. Extensive preparation classes are offered at four Colorado sites: Brighton, Ft. Lupton, La Junta and Alamosa. Approximately 400 GED certificates are awarded to HEP participants each year.
HEP has provided educational services to migrant and seasonal farm workers for 26 years, according to Lorenso Aragon, director of HEP. As a result of HEP, more than 20,000 migrant students throughout the state have earned their GED through one of the Colorado community programs. Classes are held at community and junior colleges in the service areas.
According to Aragon, more than 85 percent of BUENO HEP graduates attend an institution of higher education after earning their GED. The remaining 15 percent enter the workforce or the military.
“BUENO-HEP’s success over the past 26 years is a direct result of the partnerships the BUENO Center and the University of Colorado’s School of Education have formed with local community-based agencies, organizations and other higher education institutions located in its service area,” Aragon said.
HEP targets seasonal and migratory farm workers and their children who are at least 16 years old and not currently enrolled in school. HEP participants receive a range of developmental instruction and counseling services. Support includes GED pre-testing, classes in the GED test areas, vocational and career placement, personal counseling, tutoring, and placements in jobs, post-secondary institutions of higher education or the military.
Aragon said this new federal funding allows the BUENO Center the opportunity to continue serving Colorado’s farm workers for another five years. The BUENO Center was established in 1976 to improve educational opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse students through teacher training, research projects and staff development and training. Since its creation, the center has brought in nearly $60 million in federal and private funding.
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