Posted on November 16, 2012

Merced: PG&E Sponsors Ready to Lead Event at UC Merced, Seeks to Inspire Hispanic Students

By Tracy Correa

Students worked closely with mentors and took part in workshops centered on college preparation and leadership during last year's Ready to Lead event at UC Merced.

Hundreds of high school students are expected to descend on University of California, Merced this weekend to take part in the Ready to Lead initiative, a daylong program designed to help groom tomorrow’s Hispanic leaders.

The event on Saturday, (Nov. 17) will provide workshops and speakers as part of a college-readiness program meant to empower and motivate Hispanic students.

This will be the second year the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute has held the event at UC Merced. Formed in 1978 by Hispanic members of Congress, the institute offers programs like Ready to Lead to encourage Hispanic youth to pursue college as well as leadership roles in their communities.

About 300 students took part in workshops centered on college preparation and leadership as part of last year's Ready to Lead event at UC Merced. Similar attendance is expected at this year's event, which takes place Saturday.

Last year’s event at UC Merced drew a capacity crowd of about 300 students and broke Ready to Lead attendance records across the country. Ready to Lead events have also been held in Bronx, N.Y., Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

Students from public schools from as far north as Oakland and far south as Bakersfield participated last year at UC Merced and similar attendance is expected Saturday, said Silvia Aldana, PG&E’s manager of federal government affairs in Washington D.C.

“Having the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute host its Ready to Lead initiative is important, given the growing demographics of the San Joaquin Valley and the need to promote higher education opportunities to these communities,” said Aldana, who serves on the board of directors of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

PG&E is a sponsor of the event that features workshops on college preparation, financial planning and leadership development – all designed to help students reach their full potential. Along with the Congressional Hispanic Institute, the utility will also co-host a luncheon on Friday (Nov. 16) in Merced. Last year’s luncheon provided a forum for the institute to discuss its leadership development programs with business and community organizations and helped generate funding for students to attend a week-long program in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) talks with students during last year's Ready to Lead event at UC Merced.

The event starts at 8 a.m. Saturday and wraps up at 3:30 p.m. Among those invited to attend are Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), and UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland – both of whom attended last year.

As part of its commitment to diversity, PG&E works closely with groups such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Congressional Black Caucus.

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