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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Schnecksville, Pa., June 16, 2023 – Lehigh Carbon Community College is one of only 15 community colleges nationwide to receive a grant from the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center that will help to advance the college’s efforts to reduce barriers that Hispanic male students face and create an environment conducive to success. The college has received $75,000 for the project “Takeoff Initiative – College Men of Color.” The project is funded by the ECMC (Educational Credit Management Corporation) Foundation.

In the past five years, Hispanic enrollment at LCCC increased by 18% and, in 2019, the college was recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the US Department of Education. Currently, 28% of LCCC students are Hispanic/Latino.

Data from the Postsecondary National Policy Institute indicates that most Hispanic male students enter higher education at a community college. For these students, entering college can be fraught with barriers, including affordability, limited access to educational resources and systemic conditions that impact their sense of belonging and cultural identity. LCCC strives to reduce barriers for Hispanic male students; however, inequities still exist. For example, 31% of first-time, full-time students entering in Fall 2018 were Hispanic, yet only 17% completed their program within 150% of normal time, compared to 31% of White students.

Since earning HSI status, the college has implemented a number of initiatives to serve Latino students, including a Latino Student Success Committee to uncover systemic inequities, Aspira First-Year Experience seminar to support and empower new Hispanic students, the iCare Network that offers individualized support and the student-led Latin@ Leadership Club.

In addition, the grant will support:

Policy audit to uncover possible implicit biases in policies and regulations that adversely impact Hispanic male students, to be led by an ethnically diverse work group under the guidance of a USC-appointed DEI coach;

Expansion of new teaching methods that best serve the college’s Hispanic male students, such as co-teaching with bilingual faculty, creating more culturally relevant course content, and offering Spanish-only courses for English Language Learners;

Expansion of student success coaches to help students explore how they can achieve career and academic goals;

Faculty and staff coaching and professional development.

“The college has an incredibly rich and diverse student body, and we are committed to providing the resources to help all students be successful,” says LCCC president Dr. Ann D. Bieber. “This grant specifically will allow us to add a number of initiatives that can directly impact the success of our male Hispanic students. Building a stronger community and enhancing the sense of belonging at LCCC will create an even stronger college to serve the needs of our community.”