Friday, May 25, 2018

Many Texans Lack Access to Education Needed for 21st Century Success

Thanks to Texas businessman and philanthropist Michael Albert “Mike” Hernandez III, a total of 10 young adults have been able to attend Texas A&M University on full scholarships this year. Mike Hernandez, a native of the South Texas city of Brownsville, has reached out to the underserved community where he grew up to fund new opportunities for youth who otherwise would have little chance of making their dreams come true.

The Brownsville Scholars Program is supported through a $1 million contribution from Mr. Hernandez, the semi-retired head of Dallas-based D & M Leasing. Each of the recipients will be able to complete a four-year degree through the program.

Studies have shown that Texans in general lag behind in their ability to access higher education and the higher-paying jobs that come with it. In 2015, for example, only one-third of Texans of working age had completed two or more years of postsecondary education. The problem is acute for low-income residents and adults already in the workforce. Within the next few years, about two-thirds of available jobs will require a college education.

And Brownsville is especially affected. According to the United States Census Bureau, less than two-thirds of the city’s adults possess a high school diploma, and only about 17 percent hold a four-year college degree – numbers that donors like Mike Hernandez can help change for the better.