What possible chance does the young Mexican generation have of social mobility, and of achieving a personal dream of a rewarding career and advancement for themselves and their families?
How can a twenty-first century Mexico possibly meet the challenges it faces without a more educated populace?
As Nelson Mandela famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” He also stated, “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
In SMA specifically, the high school graduation rate is only 42 percent. According to “Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators (OECD, 2019),” fewer than 23 percent of 24-34 year olds hold a university-level degree. This despite the fact that college graduates enjoy higher employment rates, and significantly, the income premium is the second highest amongst OECD countries. While Mexico offers two-year technical associate degrees, the population served by these institutions is vastly under-represented compared to other countries.
That said, access to and completion of higher education has improved substantially over the past decade, and Jóvenes Adelante (JA) has been at the forefront of that improvement locally. JA provides access to higher education selectively—for the best SMA students who walk through our doors. We do not take the path of small student donations for many, nor of simply writing checks. As the numbers suggest, the path to a university degree is far from smooth or simple for a chronically under-educated populace. The overall graduation rate nationwide is about 25 percent. For JA students, that number is close to 85 percent.
How does Jóvenes Adelante achieve these results? We are with the student, and indirectly their families, every step of the way. We invest in our students for the long haul and for the big picture: a Mexico that offers increasing opportunity for upward mobility and lasting, community- level change.
Coming up on our twentieth anniversary, JA’s support structure has evolved to include a premium scholarship, further financial assistance as needed, laptop computers, individual mentors, psychological counseling, student development/leadership workshops, and travel opportunities. The result is the most robust, comprehensive higher education support program in Mexico.
JA’s rapidly growing network of former graduates add their gifts to JA’s extended family. Coming full circle, several graduates are now conducting online workshops, and serving as mentors for subsequent generations of students.
JA has accepted 29 new students in 2020, and currently has 115 students in process. In addition, for the first time ever, we have initiated a pilot program to adapt our support program to high school seniors.
If you support lasting impact and a long lasting vision of a better Mexico on all levels, consider investing with Jóvenes Adelante, in the future of our work force, their families, and a twenty-first century society through higher education.
For more information please visit website jovenesadelante.org.