Educational Testing Service

February 18, 2011 13:30 ET

Noted Educator Links Continued Education With Opportunity at United States Hispanic Leadership Institute Conference

College Degree a Baseline Requirement in Today's Economy

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - February 18, 2011) - Piedad Robertson, Educational Testing Service (ETS) Board of Trustees Chairperson, told a large audience of Hispanic college students, recent graduates and young professionals that a college degree and ongoing learning and training will not guarantee success, but their absence will almost surely narrow their opportunities. Her remarks came during the keynote address at the 29th Annual National Conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) today.

The conference plays a key role in advancing the mission of USHLI to empower minorities and similarly underrepresented groups by maximizing civic awareness and participation in the electoral process. During the luncheon, the 2011 recipients of the Dr. Juan Andrade Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders were also announced.

"Education is foundational to success in the knowledge- and skills-based U.S. and global economies," Robertson told attendees. "In a constantly shifting economy in which new advances in knowledge constantly impose new demands on workers, you will need to demonstrate an ability to find and use information, to work in cross-disciplinary teams, and to continue to grow and develop as the demands shift, evolve and increase."

Robertson noted that the economic value of education is quantifiable. "In the U.S. in 1979, the expected lifetime earnings of males with a bachelor's degree were 51 percent higher than those with only a high school diploma. By 2004, the difference had widened to 96 percent." 

"Also, on average, high school graduates will earn $1 million in their working lives, college graduates or certificate holders will earn another $2 million, and postgraduate degree holders will earn $2 million more," she said.

"You are not given 'leadership,'" Robertson added. "You have to work hard to earn the respect and trust of those around you. The one who succeeds is the one who is constantly learning, developing, growing, demonstrating... becoming a leader. You have to prepare yourself for this role. Education is the fundamental step toward moving up the ladder. Be ready. 

"Education is not just a Hispanic issue. It is a national issue. But it is also an individual issue," Robertson said. "Pundits and commentators lament that America is no longer a place where fortunes can be made and great things achieved by work and grit, that the opportunities for individual achievement and entrepreneurship are not what they once were. In fact, the opposite is true.

"You may be less likely to wrest gold from the ground with a pick and shovel than 150 years ago, but you are more likely to make gold from the ideas in your mind. Your mind is the most fertile landscape to mine. And, the one who succeeds is the one who is constantly learning, developing, growing and demonstrating -- and leading," Robertson concluded. 

Piedad Robertson served as president of the Education Commission of the States (ECS) from 2005-2006. She came to ECS from Santa Monica College, where she was president for 10 years. She also served on Governor Schwarzenegger's transition team and was appointed as special assistant to Richard Riordan, secretary for education. From 1991 to 1995, Robertson served as the secretary of education in Massachusetts, where she supervised the drafting of the comprehensive K-12 Education Reform Act. She is currently on the boards of the American Council on Education, the Institute for Higher Education Policy and ETS. She is a former member of the board of the Gates Millennium Scholarship and the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute.

USHLI is oriented toward civic and political engagement and public policy. Its mission is "to fulfill the promises and principles of democracy by empowering minorities and similarly disenfranchised groups and by maximizing civic awareness and participation in the electoral process." It aims to promote leadership development, education and Latino unity.

About ETS
At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually -- including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments -- in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

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