Current Article


Ann Hatch, Dallas County Community College District,
Kristin Welch, Allyn Media

For immediate release — Jan. 29, 2018

(DALLAS) — Dallas County Promise, a program designed to increase college completion aligned with the North Texas job market, will host its first student leadership summit on Monday, Feb. 5, at Cedar Valley College. More than 200 students from 31 area high schools, seven Dallas County Community Colleges, the University of North Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University, Prairie View A&M University and others have been invited to attend the summit. The event will focus on postsecondary attainment, economic opportunity and poverty in Dallas County. 

Civil rights leader, attorney and activist Fred Gray is the featured speaker for the event, which will be held in Cedar Valley’s performance hall. Gray will discuss the role that young people have played in the past addressing the issues of college access and economic opportunity. He also will emphasize the continuing need for student leaders today. Among his many accomplishments, Gray worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; defended Rosa Parks; argued cases before the Supreme Court; and, at age 87, continues to take legal cases. He will address the students at 11 a.m.

After learning from and interacting with Gray, students will break into small teams to discuss action ideas and suggest ways to make college completion possible for themselves and others in their schools and communities. Students from Phi Theta Kappa chapters at all seven DCCCD colleges will lead the students in that discussion. PTK is the largest academic honorary for two-year colleges in the U.S., and DCCCD members helped plan and organize the summit, which occurs during Black History Month.

"We are honored to have Fred Gray talk to Dallas County students about the gaps that still exist in 2018 in college completion and workforce readiness. By sharing his experience and advice, we hope Mr. Gray will inspire them to become leaders themselves," said Eric Ban, managing director of Dallas County Promise.

Ban added, "It is inspiring to see the next generation of student leaders working together to find solutions to ensure that they and their peers attend and complete college."

Dr. Pyeper Wilkins, chief advancement officer for DCCCD and executive director of the DCCCD Foundation, added, “This first Dallas County Promise student leadership summit also is an opportunity to show our high school students the unique learning opportunities that come with higher education.”

She added, “We can show them that the Dallas County Promise program brings education, growth and different perspectives — and those opportunities will continue when they go to college at DCCCD, UNT-Dallas, SMU, Prairie View A&M and our other institutional partners.” Dallas County Promise is a last-dollar scholarship funded by the DCCCD Foundation with matching scholarships from partner universities.

Statistically, only 37 percent of the adult population in Dallas County has a two- or four-year college degree; however, 65 percent of all jobs in the area requires some college education. Dallas County Promise was launched to increase the number of adults who earn a college credential and to ensure that all students, regardless of income, can attend college, earn a credential and obtain one of the many well-paying, high-demand jobs in North Texas.

Dallas County Promise was started in fall 2017 to help drive equity in college and economic outcomes across 31 high schools, representing 9,300 high school seniors. This transformational effort between school districts, colleges, universities, workforce and communities seeks to increase college completion and develop a pipeline of world-class talent which creates equity in outcomes for students, families and the community.

Through partnerships and community effort, all Promise students have made a pledge to receive free college tuition through DCCCD with an option to transfer and earn bachelor's degrees aligned with the best jobs in North Texas. Every student in the program will have a college success coach, and a data tracking system will provide indicators that help identify needs and direct resources for Promise students.

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