Helios Education Foundation Names Braulio Colón Vice President and Program Director for Postsecondary Education Success Initiatives

Posted on: June 14, 2013

Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on creating opportunities for every individual in Arizona and Florida to achieve postsecondary education success, today named Braulio Colón as Vice President and Program Director for Postsecondary Education Success Initiatives in Arizona and Florida.

Colón joins the Foundation's Community Investment team under the leadership of Linda Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Impact Officer, where he will help the Foundation engage partners across both states and lead the implementation of the Foundation's new theory of change focused on strengthening student support programs critical to college persistence and completion.

Colón has extensive experience in college access and completion programs and in efforts aimed at helping first-generation and under-represented students gain access to and succeed in postsecondary education.

"We are thrilled to add Braulio to the Foundation's Community Investment team and we are confident that his leadership and expertise will help advance Helios' ongoing efforts to make strategic and impactful investments in postsecondary education in Arizona and Florida," said Helios' Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Barbara Ryan Thompson. "Our core mission is to ensure that every individual in Arizona and Florida has the opportunity to attend and succeed in postsecondary education and we plan to enhance that work even further with the addition of Braulio."

In both Arizona and Florida, fewer than two thirds of full-time students complete a four-year degree in six years and fewer than 20 percent complete a two-year degree within three years. High remediation rates, 59 percent in Arizona and 54 percent in Florida, are a leading deterrent to postsecondary completion.

With predictions indicating that by 2020 more than 60 percent of jobs and the majority of the fastest growing occupations will require some form of postsecondary education, Helios is working to remove the barriers to college access and completion and to better connect critical student supports, such as academic advising and scholarships, to a coherent program of study that leads to degree attainment and career advancement.

"There is no other issue more important to the future of our communities than education," said Braulio Colón. "I am honored to join the team at Helios and I look forward to working with my colleagues and our community partners across both states to make an impact in the lives of students pursuing college success."

A first generation college student himself, Colón grew up in Orlando, Florida and attended the University of South Florida (USF), graduating with dual Bachelor degrees in Mass Communications and Africana Studies. He later earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration from USF.

Prior to joining Helios, Colón served as director of ENLACE Florida, a statewide network promoting college readiness, access and success and subsequently served as founding director of Florida College Access Network (Florida C.A.N.!), where he worked with colleges and universities, school systems, businesses, community organizations and other groups to strengthen local efforts to improve college and career readiness, access and completion for all students.

Colón also worked for the Florida Department of Education as Regional Field Director and for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System as General Manger for Communications and Public Partnerships.

Category: Foundation Feature

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