El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence Announces Next Phase of Work
Last Updated on April 22, 2019 at 12:00 AM
Originally published April 22, 2019
By UC Staff
Members of the board of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence (EPCAE), a regional leadership council, unveiled a unified vision of a future in which all El Pasoans have access to the highest quality education that leads to ample career pathways and supports a vibrant local economy and enhanced quality of life.
At a press conference held on Thursday, April 18 at El Paso Community College, members of the EPCAE announced the next steps to continue their long-lasting and sustained partnership between El Paso’s academic, business, and civic organizations.
“For more than 25 years, the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence and UTEP have taken great pride in serving all students who entrust us with their dreams of enhancing both their and their families’ prosperity and quality of life,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “We remain intensely focused on our commitment to raise educational aspirations and attainment of all young people in the region, offering them high-quality educational opportunities that will expand their future options in education and in careers after graduation."
The EPCAE, originally founded in 1992 at The University of Texas at El Paso, was established to increase the academic attainment and raise the aspirations of students from pre-K to graduate school in the Paso del Norte region. Since then, the EPCAE has worked to increase educational and career opportunities for all young people in the region by working with schools, colleges, universities, workforce and economic development organizations, and the private sector.
President Natalicio has chaired the Collaborative since its inception.
Recently, the chairmanship was transferred to William Serrata, Ph.D., President of El Paso Community College.
“The El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence is a dynamic network of stakeholders in our community committed to increasing student success, educational attainment and strengthening economic development in our region,” Serrata said. “We are proud to work together with education, business/workforce and community leaders to align our regional strategies to ensure all students achieve their goals while also working toward high-skilled and high-wage jobs in our community.”
The purpose of the press conference was to announce the Collaborative’s four strategic priorities – 1) Academic Preparedness, 2) College and Career Readiness, 3) Quality of Life and Economic Prosperity, and 4) Lifelong Success and Well Being, and the El Paso regional scorecard, which identifies important indicators that prepare students for success, from first steps to first careers.
Through the years, the Collaborative has achieved remarkable results through collaborations with academic, business and civic partners, including UTEP, El Paso Community College, Region 19 Education Service Center, the region’s school districts, and local civic and business organizations.
Since the Collaborative began, the region has seen significant improvements in test scores and high school graduation rates; increases in college readiness and the number of higher education degrees and certificates awarded; and reductions in academic achievement gaps across demographic groups.
EPCAE’s current board includes a cross-section of members representing education, business, civic, economic development and workforce, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations.
The board composition is as follows: William Serrata, President, EPCC; Diana Natalicio, President, UTEP; Armando Aguirre, Executive Director, ESC Region 19; Jose Espinoza, Superintendent, SISD; Xavier de la Torre, Superintendent, YISD; Juan Cabrera, Superintendent, EPISD; Clifton Tanabe, Dean, UTEP College of Education; Ed Escudero, CEO, High Desert Capital, LLC; Richard Castro, Chair, CREEED; Eddie Rodriguez, Secretary and Executive Director, CREEED; Roberto Coronado, Vice President in Charge, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, El Paso Branch; Joyce Wilson, CEO, Workforce Solutions Borderplex; Eric Pearson, President & CEO, El Paso Community Foundation; and Ivette Savina, Director, El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence.
“In this new vision of the Collaborative, we are focused on the educational attainment of students but also what happens after they complete a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree,” said Ivette Savina, Assistant Vice President for Outreach and Student Access at UTEP and the Director of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence. “We are well positioned to fully engage with business and civic leaders to support the regional economic development necessary to create more high-skilled, high-paying jobs that align with the post-secondary educational attainment and aspirations of the students in our region, and in this way, we are nurturing, growing and keeping El Paso’s talent.”
About EPCAE: For over 25 years, the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence has been working to increase educational and career opportunities for all young people in our growing region by working with schools, colleges, universities, workforce and economic development organizations and the private sector. In our next steps, we are committed to connecting our efforts to the region’s economic success and aligning our work to achieve our vision of innovative education, economic prosperity and enhanced quality of life for all El Pasoans. Learn more: www.utep.edu/epcae/about/about.html