Super Sunday Blog
A Critical Imperative for the Nation: Higher Education for All
This past Sunday, I was honored to speak at “New Philly” – the New Philadelphia AME Church in Rancho Dominguez. Rev. Sherman Gordon and the congregation were very gracious and welcoming to me and the CSU Dominguez Hills staff and students who attended, and I was constantly struck by how critically important it is to reach out to the communities we serve and to establish strong ties in order to support the young people in our region. Seeing so many of our alumni at these services was particularly gratifying.
I have long held a passionate commitment to multicultural alliances and the belief that these coalitions strengthen students’ opportunities, as well as strengthening institutions and communities. The annual CSU Super Sunday events are a great way to put that commitment into action. The California State University has an obligation to make the attainment of a college degree a realistic goal for all who want to improve the quality of their lives through education. These events offer us a way to directly connect with African American students and their families and to assist them in attaining their dreams.
As President Obama stated in his first address to Congress, a high school diploma is no longer enough for the vast majority of careers. Further, if our country and our state are to compete economically we must have a competitive work force and a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. The investment in all of our human capital is critical and we cannot afford to lose one single person’s talents. It would be detrimental to the individual, their family, and the nation.
At CSU Dominguez Hills we are proud that 30% of our student body is African American; however, as a society we still have a big job ahead of us. African American students lag behind in eligibility to be admitted to CSU campuses. Research indicates that the college participation rate for students in California from low-income families is less than 22% and there is a crisis confronting our nation when it comes to young men enrolling in higher education, especially men of color.
These potential students are crucial to our state’s success. California relies on the CSU to educate and prepare a large percentage of the skilled workforce we require to remain competitive. Our students are well-prepared to enter a diverse global world with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and to contribute to society. We will continue to reach out to these communities by engaging with them in their neighborhoods in order to provide the information necessary for entry into higher education and thus increase opportunities for our youth, which in turn will benefit our region and state.