Its mission is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn college degrees and return to the community as mentors and leaders to future generations. The program is interdisciplinary in approach, with writing, counseling and mentoring components.
Started in 1981 at Chabot Community College in Hayward, California, the program has since expanded to 4 middle schools, 38 high schools and 65 community colleges throughout the state. Puente staff train middle school, high school and community college instructors and counselors to implement a program of rigorous instruction, focused academic counseling, and mentoring by members of the community. Puente's staff training programs have benefited approximately 300,000 students across the state. Puente is open to all students.