Austin, Texas -- As Texans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, WGU Texas and the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) are marking the one-year anniversary of a partnership focused on filling the growing need for a robust, well-educated Hispanic workforce in Texas.
TAMACC's relationship with WGU Texas represents the first time the 40-year-old organization, consisting of 24 local Hispanic chambers of commerce, which represent more than 15,000 Hispanic business members, entered into a partnership with a university.
"Hispanic business owners need an educated workforce, one ready to meet the challenges of today's highly competitive, global economy," said Pauline E. Anton, TAMACC Executive Director/CEO. "What makes our agreement with WGU Texas so important is the access it provides our members to an affordable and credible path to get their undergraduate or graduate degree."
WGU Texas Chancellor Veronica Vargas Stidvent notes that access to affordable higher education is needed now, more than ever. The WGU Texas Higher Education Poll found that among all Texans without college degrees, cost (76 percent), family responsibilities (71 percent), work (69 percent) and time it takes to complete a degree (68 percent) were among the leading obstacles to obtaining a degree.
"Texans identify obstacles to higher education that are indicative of the changing face and demographics of college students today," said Stidvent. "Nontraditional students are a new majority, and that means higher education must evolve to meet the needs of students who juggle full-time jobs, family responsibilities, and limited budgets."
To help make the dream of higher education a reality for more Hispanic Texans, WGU Texas will award five Hispanic Achievers Scholarships, each valued at up to $5,000 ($1,000 per term for up to five terms) to encourage TAMACC members and their employees to get a college degree.
Victor Villegas, an instructional designer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, in Dallas, Texas, earned a Master of Education Learning and Technology degree from WGU Texas. "WGU Texas was a game changer for me. WGU Texas is student-focused and my faculty mentor supported me though my studies all the way to graduation. With my degree from WGU Texas, I have gained the confidence to take on the next level in my career," he said.