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GRCC plans for Latino Initiative

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By Carla Villasana-Acosta – Collegiate Contributor

As part of the upcoming three-year Strategic Plan, Grand Rapids Community College will work to offer further assistance to Latino students.

The College’s Strategic Plan is established every three years and it “outlines the strategies, action projects, project champions and indicators of success that will drive our work during the next three years,” according to the GRCC website.

The new plan will be implemented between 2014 and 2017, and one of its strategies was created to “provide additional student support for Latino students.”

Fourteen GRCC staff members will work together as a team in order to accomplish the established goals for that strategy. The team is led by the College Success Center Associate Director Domingo Hernandez-Gomez.

Hernandez-Gomez explained that the project is divided into three different strategies.

The first strategy is based on improving existing services at the College such as developing the GRCC website and the application in Spanish and updating the list of bilingual staff.

The second strategy is focused on creating new services for Latino students. These include the opening of a Latino Center on campus in order to “create a space” for the GRCC Latino community. The creation of the space is currently in planning stages and may be used to offer services such as workshops and study spaces to students.

According to Hernandez-Gomez, the goal is that the Latino Center will be run by the Hispanic Student Organization along with the team working on the Strategic Plan.

Another service that has already been implemented is the offering of two sections of the CLS 100 course geared towards Latino students. These sections are being offered for the upcoming winter semester.

The third strategy is aimed at increasing community involvement at GRCC. The team will work to connect Latino students with the Grand Rapids community. Their efforts would include reaching out to high schools, churches, and parents in order to enhance the students’ college experience. A leadership program for Latino students would also be implemented with help from community members.

Hernandez-Gomez said that the project is being implemented because “we would like our students to do better (and) to be successful here at GRCC.”