The Henry W. Bloch School of Management has teamed up with the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Development Fund (HDFKC) to form a new scholarship program aimed at incoming Hispanic students. Offering a potential total of $10,000 per student, the new program has been created to address a growing disparity in degree attainment within the Hispanic community, where, according to UMKC, students are 17% less likely to graduate with a degree than any other group in Kansas City.
The program is slated to be an extension of the current Launchpad program, which was created by the Bloch School last fall to improve educational opportunities for incoming and transferring business students from Missouri and Kansas.
Brittany Bummer, the Launchpad program coordinator, said the program is integral for some first-time college students.
“[The scholarship] has meant the difference between students coming directly to UMKC or starting at a community college,” Bummer said. “Launchpad goes deeper than just a scholarship in that it has professional development programming, social programing, peer networks and professional networks to show that UMKC is the right place to be.”
Bummer said students in the program will be better able to negotiate and enter the business world with a higher salary, have networks that set them apart before they even have their first full-time job and hit those professional development points that companies may not be seeing from other candidates. Her hope is that business students who receive and complete the Block Launchpad scholarship program will receive the dream job they wanted.
The new partnership program with the HDFKC will differ somewhat from the standard Launchpad program. Most notably, the program will begin to recruit students who are attending local high schools, looking to build relationships with the underserved community before college.
Iván Ramirez, the coordinator for the Multicultural Student Affairs office and leader of UMKC’s Avanzando program, believes the partnership with HDFKC is great news. Ramirez spoke about how the HDFKC was one of the pioneers of the Avanzando Program at UMKC in 2011, which focuses on helping Hispanic students in all academic disciplines.
“The HDFKC remains extraordinary partners with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, so it is exciting that they will be partnering with our colleagues at the Bloch School to further increase the University’s efforts in supporting UMKC Latinx students,” Ramirez said.
According to Bummer, approximately 11% of Launchpad students are Hispanic/Latinx.
Prospective students interested in the program must first gain admittance into UMKC and, following their acceptance, may also be awarded additional funding from the Launchpad scholarship.