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Puentes New Orleans

Program Description

"In 2001, NCLR, in collaboration with and through the support of PepsiCo Foundation and PepsiCo, Inc., created the Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success. Expanded with the support of Shell, the program promotes economic mobility for Latino youth by increasing educational attainment, career planning, and access to information about advanced careers. The program aligns with NCLR's goals to eliminate barriers to employment and economic mobility while increasing the capacity of NCLR Affiliates to provide effective workforce development, education, and leadership services for Latino youth. The intent of the Escalera Program is to design a replicable program model for serving Latino youth that NCLR Affiliates throughout the country can implement. The program's principal components are career exploration, technology skills development, leadership development, personal development, and academic support."

As an affiliate of NCLR, here at Puentes New Orleans have embarked in this program for the first time (Sept 2014), we provide the new version of Escalera STEM to two neighborhood high schools at the moment. We provide support for the majority of Latino students, but are open to any junior or senior that is interested.

The role of Puentes within the Latino community since 2007 has been to support the inclusion of Latinos in public, political and socio-economic life. Puentes is implementing programs to provide better education for young Latinos; encouraging participation of Latino families in decision making processes that impact us; and advocating across ethnic lines for equitable distribution of resources, opportunity, and justice. Puentes strategy of community development concentrates on building the inter-ethnic power of the Latino community through its civic engagement and advocacy work.

Success Stories

This is our first year implementing and are hoping for all of the seniors to move onto college or a technical college of their choice.

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Arts and cultural
  • Career exploration and counseling/internships
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College fairs/campus visits
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • SAT/ACT and other test preparation
  • Scholarships and last-dollar grants
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Race & Ethnicity

  • Hispanic/Latino: 79%
  • African American: 21%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 60
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk
  • ESL Students


  • More than 75%