By The Miami Herald Editorial
The future is now, and creating an ever-stronger South Florida means applying all the resources we can muster — now. A committed coalition, including former Sen. Bob Graham, the Knight Foundation and mobilize.org, has set its sights on South Florida’s community college students and the challenges that they face staying in school.
From June 1-3, 125 young people from Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach community colleges will convene to discuss the problems that they face in achieving their academic goals. Better yet, this diverse, idealistic and tech-savvy group is being brought together to come up with solutions, the best of which will receive funding to make them a reality and put them to work.
Nationally, the trend tells of the challenges: About 46 percent of community college students complete a two-year degree within six years, accruing a burden of debt from the start. This makes it harder for this demographic to be as civically engaged in their communities — from joining the PTA to voting to volunteering to making a case at city hall. Such participation is a measure of civic health, and South Florida needs to encourage, not discourage it.
Mobilize.org, based in Washington, D.C., was created 10 years ago and provides financial resources, peer mentoring and leadership development training. It has held several summits with “millennials” across the country. Next week’s will be the first in the state of Florida.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.