Gateway Technical College leaders recently celebrated the college’s official U.S. Department of Education-designated Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution status and outlined steps they will take to further meet the needs of an increasing number of Hispanic students at the college.
Emerging HSIs are colleges which have reached a 15 to 24 percent Hispanic student enrollment level and have the potential to reach the full HSI designation threshold of 25 percent within the next few years, and Gateway’s Hispanic enrollment is nearly 24 percent.
Gateway is one of two technical colleges – and one of seven among all colleges – in Wisconsin considered an emerging HSI.
“We are extremely proud and excited to be recognized as an Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution,” said Tammi Summers, Gateway Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“The HSI Advisory Team along with Gateway’s DEI Steering Committee will move forward with forming an HSI Task Force. The HSI Task Force will focus on the spirit of serving our Hispanic/Latinx students and creating equitable and inclusive learning environments. By incorporating culturally responsive practices throughout the college community, we ultimately impact the success of all students, not just students who are in our underrepresented populations.”
Gateway began expanding its outreach and student services to Hispanic students leading up to the official launch of its HSI initiative in 2020. It was that year the college became intentional about looking at the application process, its data and creating a group to champion the HSI status and other related activities. Gateway hopes to attain HSI status by 2024.
The college has undertaken a number of efforts to meet the needs of Hispanic students and to attain HSI status. A few of the many the many efforts include:
The college has begun to translate several of its website pages and information pieces to Spanish.
Many of the translated pages will provide information and resources for Spanish-speakers to help them better learn about the college and what it has to offer them.
“We are so excited to have these bilingual webpages available to our Spanish-speaking community,” said Summers. “Our college mission is: ‘We deliver industry-focused education that is flexible, accessible, and affordable for our diverse community’ and having these webpages in Spanish demonstrates our commitment to being more accessible to our Hispanic/Latinx community.”
The website effort will provide a way for parents or families of prospective college students to more fully understand the college process by providing information in their first language, a valuable resource to those who are considering college and their future career.
Yo Puedo College Day provides a way for Hispanic high-schoolers to find out more about Gateway. This has been a popular event and has introduced hundreds of students to Gateway and consider a college education.
Gateway has a dedicated outreach specialist committed to sharing new opportunities at Gateway with its Hispanic community and collaborating internally to provide services in Spanish during recruitment events and activities.
Gateway offers some of its HSED program courses in Spanish. Not all colleges offer coursework in Spanish, but Gateway and the YWCA of Southeast Wisconsin (YWCA SEW) saw the need and pioneered the idea a couple years ago, making it possible for native Spanish-speakers to obtain their HSED.