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Tribute to Telacu for its Commitment to the Advancement and Empowerment of Latinos

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


* Mr. BACA. Madam Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks.

* The people of this great Nation share a common spirit and heritage. Whether born on the soil of this land or having chosen to come here in search of a better life--one free of political, social, and economic oppression, we are a Nation of pioneers. We believe in the American dream, and the promise that through our labors we can achieve educational and economic success. No barrier is too imposing, no obstacle to tall that it should stand in the way of pursuing this dream.

* Two of my congressional predecessors, Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Jacob Javits, advanced legislation in the 1960s that promoted this dream by laying the foundation for an organization called TELACU. Since its founding in 1968, TELACU has become the largest community and economic development corporation in the United States. TELACU is a pioneered institution committed to service, empowerment, advancement and the creation of self-sufficiency within the Latino community.

* Brought to life through a small investment appropriated by Congress, TELACU has grown to become an organization with nearly $500 million in assets, creating thousands of jobs, affordable homes, loans to small business people, and most importantly, numerous educational opportunities for our Latino youth and veterans.

* TELACU established the LINC TELACU Education Foundation, LTEF. For more than 2 decades, the Education Foundation has been working towards removing the formidable barriers that prevent Latino youth from achieving academic success. Latino youth not only struggle against the effects of low-income households, inadequate support and counseling, but a lack of professional and academic role models, all of which contribute to why only 39 percent of Latino high school graduates in Los Angeles County go on to higher education.

* TELACU Education Foundation realized that there is no more vital asset in any community than its human capital, which is why they began their efforts to reverse these trends. For more than 2 decades, the LINC TELACU Education Foundation has contributed to the development of our future Latino leaders through a variety of programs designed to maximize the potential of our youth.

* The LINC TELACU Scholarship Program, established in 1983, is one program that helps students realize their dream of a college education by providing scholarships, supplemented by other essential support.

* In conceiving the foundation, TELACU discovered that while financial assistance is vital for college students to achieve academic success, other factors are also important. Students who are the first in their families ever to attend college often lack the support system necessary to achieve their dream. Socioeconomic factors, family responsibilities, cultural identity and financial stress create very real conflicting challenges to academic life.

* The LINC TELACU Scholarship Program provides its youth not only with monetary assistance, but also counseling, leadership training, classes in time management and other subjects that will help them succeed in college.

* TELACU has partnered with corporate donors, private individuals, and a vast network of colleges and universities, providing the driving force behind one of the most effective national institutions ever to impact the educational needs of the Latino community.

* The LINC TELACU Education Foundation has accepted this challenge head on, combining important financial assistance with highly effective programs that ensure college completion. The foundation supports 600 college students and serves 2,000 elementary, middle and high school students and veterans each year. The success of this extraordinary foundation is best summarized by the numbers: Its scholar retention and college graduation rates are an astounding 100 percent.

* Madam Speaker, I join today with community leaders throughout my State to express our Nation's gratitude to TELACU, the LINC TELACU Education Foundation and for scholarship programs like this one, for believing in the dream of higher education for all of America's next generation of leaders.

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