¡Salir Adelante! Helps Latino Youth and Families Prepare for Higher Education and Careers

Next facilitator training is Sept. 26-27 in Altoona

September 11, 2023, 9:44 am | Kimberly Greder, Rosa Gonzalez

AMES, Iowa – By 2025, more than two-thirds of Iowa jobs will require training or education beyond high school, according to Future Ready Iowa, a state initiative to build Iowa’s talent pipeline. However, not all Iowans are prepared for these jobs, including Iowa’s Latino population, said Kimberly Greder, a professor in human development and family studies at Iowa State University.

“Statistics from the Iowa Department of Education and the State Data Center indicate that Latinos are less likely than Iowa youth overall to graduate from high school or enroll in higher education. In the U.S. and across the world, education is a gateway to opportunity, plays a key role in preventing poverty, and is directly related to a person’s health and wellbeing,” said Greder, who also is a family wellbeing state specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

To address this education and training gap, ISU Extension and Outreach developed “¡Salir Adelante! Pathways for Our Future,” a culturally tailored, research-based and evidence-informed curriculum that promotes career and college readiness among Latino youth and their families. It helps sixth, seventh and eighth grade Latino youth and their families develop the knowledge, skills and connections that help young people succeed in school and pursue education and training beyond high school. They’ll be better prepared for the future and to reach their potential.

Salir Adelante facilitator training for extension staff and local partners

Salir Adelante facilitator training 2022.ISU Extension and Outreach partners with schools, organizations and volunteers to implement Salir Adelante in Iowa communities. Teams of extension educators and community partners are trained to facilitate the curriculum with local Latino youth and their families.

The next Salir Adelante facilitator training is set for Sept. 26-27 in Altoona at the ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County office. Registration closes Sept 15.

Please contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office if you are interested in partnering with extension to bring Salir Adelante to your community and being trained as a workshop facilitator.

“As part of a $10,000 grant from the National Extension Foundation, we are able to cover the $120 registration fee for community members who want to be trained as facilitators. The grant is helping us to expand Salir Adelante throughout Iowa,” Greder said. After connecting with their ISU Extension and Outreach county office, individuals can register for the training at https://go.iastate.edu/TXGA1W.

The value of ¡Salir Adelante! to youth, their families and communities has also been shown through previous grants from GreenState Credit Union and State Farm Insurance. Their support has provided funding to train community volunteers and partner organizations, as well as purchase program supplies, Greder said.

County extension councils and local organizations have contributed cash and in-kind support to implement the program in their communities, Greder noted.

More than 100 extension staff and volunteers already have been trained to facilitate the curriculum with Latino youth and their parents in 19 Iowa communities.

Helping Latino youth and families reach their goals

Salir Adelante family session, Washington County, 2022.Over the past three years, over 500 Latino youth and parents have participated in ¡Salir Adelante! across Iowa. The curriculum has affirmed and built upon the knowledge, experiences and strengths of these families and has connected them to information and resources to reach their goals, Greder explained.

Through previous community-based research and extension programming with Latino families, Greder and her colleagues learned strategies to specifically address the interests of Latino families and effectively engage them in educational programming.

“The ¡Salir Adelante! curriculum was informed by direct research with Latino families in Iowa. We conducted individual and focus group interviews with fathers, mothers and youth, and surveyed over 1,000 Latino youth and parents who had previously participated in extension education,” Greder said.

“When Latino families in Iowa talk about education and their hopes for their children’s future, they often say ‘salir adelante’ to describe moving forward to reach goals. That’s why we chose this Spanish phrase as the name for this curriculum,” Greder said.

When they participate in ¡Salir Adelante!, families come together for six, two-hour workshops and facilitators teach the curriculum in Spanish or English as needed. Families learn how to build upon their values and strengths and partner with schools for youth success. They explore education and careers and how to pay for post-secondary education. They also learn about navigating difficult situations and celebrate their strengths and achievements.

In surveys from before and after the six-week program, the large majority of youth and parents reported improvements in youth problem-solving, parent involvement in their youth’s education, and family communication.

“These factors are linked to academic success and participation in training and education after high school. ¡Salir Adelante! strengthens families, unifies communities and prepares Latino youth for a brighter future,” Greder said.

By 2025, ¡Salir Adelante! aims to have helped 800 Latino youth and their families explore paths to higher education and careers to reach their hopes and dreams and be prepared for the future.

Anyone interested in bringing the program to Latino families in their community may contact Greder at kgreder@iastate.edu or Rosa Gonzalez, human sciences specialist in family wellbeing, at rdegonza@iastate.edu, for more information.

Shareable photos

About the Authors: