Monthly Archives: January 2010

Contributing with GURConnect

With the all the activity of the last couple weeks, I forgot to mention I’m now a blog contributor with Global University Recruiting.  You can check out my initial contribution regarding Best Practices in Hispanic college recruitment here.  

Also known as GURConnect, the website is a weblog dedicated to profiling the world of university recruiting. In addition to covering companies and organizations on campus, the website will also include case studies from vendors on how they have helped clients succeed. I’m honored to have joined GURConnect’s  impressive group of contributors. They’re all certainly at the forefront of university recruiting. My contributions will focus on college recruiting in the context of building awareness of Hispanic college talent.  I’m  grateful to have been chosen to be part of the discussion and look forward to our future collaborations!

Spotlight on Hispanic Men in Education

Last week a report by the America Counci on Education showed that the gender gap in college enrollments is  leveling off, with the key exception of Hispanic enrollments, where men are falling further behind women. According to the article, one possible explanation might related to economics — males leaving school to work in order to support immediate and/or extended families. The decreasing trend of Hispanic men in college is not a new one. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, this is not a trend exclusive to Hispanic males, evidence suggests young males in general find it challenging to keep up with females across all racial and ethnic groups. In regards to Hispanics, some studies suggest that the decrease can be culturally related with the factors such as “machismo” playing a role early in a Hispanic male’s development.  Pressures facing Hispanics and other minorities to adapt to their peers can also be a cause. Finally, the lack of Hispanic teachers might have implications as well.  One explanation, for example, can be that women have better emotional intelligence and coping strategies than male Hispanics. Hence, their adaptation to college is better. As noted earlier, Hispanic males might also take very different paths when you consider work and other social factors.  While there are surely numerous reasons for this trend, what is evident is there is not research regarding the educational paths Hispanic college students take – particularly, the reasons why Hispanic men enroll but don’t complete college. While there is obvious work to be done, there are programs that are starting to take notice such as the Puente Project, Upward Bound, and other higher education associations. Programs like these and others will certainly make an impact in the long-term; however, there also needs to be a concentrated effort to bring this issue to forefront and keeping it there.

Other Source for this post: Victor B. Saenz and Luis Ponjuan Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Jan 2009; vol. 8: pp. 54 – 89.

One Powerful Latina

Welcome to the first HTM Podcast!

This opening installment of the HTM Podcast focuses on Latina Leadership, an important topic when you consider Latina leaders are starting to make great strides in the business world. The HTM Podcast has been in the works for some time, so I’m excited to get it started with a wonderful guest, Aurelia Flores, Founder of  PowerfulLatinas.com.  Aurelia founded PowerfulLatinas.com in 2007 as a company that gathers together Latina women to learn from and share with one another. After becoming pregnant at age 15, she graduated from high school a year early and went immediately to college where she received her B.A. in Sociology. She received her law degree from Stanford Law School and then was awarded a post-graduate Fulbright Fellowship to study in Mexico City. Aurelia has been practicing corporate law for over ten years and specializes in intellectual property.  Aurelia also volunteers for various non-profit organizations. Aurelia, her story and PowerfulLatinas.com have been featured on TV, radio, and in print publications, including the recently published book, “Aim High:  Extraordinary Stories of Hispanic and Latina Women.” She is a proud mother and her son now attends Georgetown University. Enjoy!

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Stand & Deliver: Jaime Escalante's Dream Continues

An AP program allows high school students to enroll in college-level classes to earn college credit prior to graduation from high school. Students earn college credit by taking an exam demonstrating they’re proficient in a specific area of study. It provides high school students an opportunity to experience the demands of college work and is also recognized by colleges as an important factor in admission criteria. In some respects, I would argue earned AP credits can be better predictors of college success than SAT scores.

One of my favorite movies from years ago is “Stand and Deliver.” If you’re not familiar with the movie, it’s based on a true story about Jaime Escalante (played by Edward James Olmos), who taught mathematics in East. L.A.’s Garfield High School. Mr. Escalante taught mostly Hispanic students and used their hopes (as well as their fears) to inspire them to learn math. His efforts included teaching college-level calculus for AP credit. Overcoming economic, financial, racial, and social challenges, the students of Garfield High School excelled thanks to Mr. Escalante’s commitment. Having been involved with an AP program many years ago, I can share that it takes a lot of desire, motivation, and commitment – or what Mr. Escalante would call, “ganas.”   Continue reading

Hispanic Representation in the Federal Workforce

There’s really no way to improve upon this latest post on the ERE Blog regarding the recruitment and retention of Hispanics in the Federal workforce. John Bersentes and Mark Havard have done an excellent job in presenting the issues, the trends, and the potential opportunities in this area. John and I had emailed a few times months ago while he was in the middle of researching this article. I provided my own insights but it’s obvious that he spoke to many more people during his research process.  The following passage was most consequential for me: Continue reading

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Sometimes you just have days when the news isn’t always positive when it comes to Hispanics and other minorities. Two sobering but interesting articles point to the impact the current economic environment is taking on Hispanics. Life’s challenges teach us that any endeavor usually means that you often take two steps back in order to take one step forward. Of course, it’s easy to not always easy to see the forest beyond the trees on some days, but it’s important to do so. Once this environment runs its course like so many before, a lot of businesses and organizations will need more leaders and workers in the coming decades. So even on days like today when the news is not always so positive, it’s important to look beyond the trees and look forward the forest ahead.

Circuitry Model Revisited

I’ve often advocated on this blog that Hispanic college students do not fit the typical “pipeline” description when it comes to their higher education experiences. A “pipeline” in the educational context often denotes linear progression – a process that is continuous and developmental at the same time. In theory, this model makes a lot of sense; however, from a Hispanic perspective a different metaphorical model is needed. This El Paso Times article captures the essence of the Hispanic college student experience nicely. Hispanics often face many challenges on their path toward being a college graduate: work, family, and lack of financial resources are just a few. Having worked at the University of Texas at El Paso Career Center for almost five years, I can attest to the consequences of Hispanic college students “on ramping and off ramping” their college careers due to a lack of financial resources. Given the consequences of cutbacks state schools  face around the country, it seems the challenege is getting even steeper.

As the EPTimes article accurately describes, Hispanic college students often leave school to earn additional monies in order to help pay for another quarter, semester, or year of college. I waited FIVE years after graduating from high school before setting foot on 4 year institution, meticulously saving money while I worked full time. Ironically, I saved enough for only two years of school before having to apply for student loans and other grants (another issue for first generation Hispanic college students altogether). I realize this trend is not concentrated to Hispanic college students. Women and other minorities face similar challenges while trying to obtain their college degrees. So rather than depicting education as a pipeline, I again advocate that for Hispanics and other minorities, the education process resembles more that of a matrix or a circuit with entry and decision making points being made at different points within and outside of the higher education process.  Some colleges and universities are beginning to take note that the increasing presence of Hispanics on campuses requires change and I applaud their efforts; it’s just not happening as fast as I’d like to see.

One in Five Moms Are Hispanic

I’ve written a few times regarding the alignment of Hispanic marketing and advertising trends with others such as the Hispanic workforce. AdWeek provides some interesting numbers regarding Hispanic moms:

… 21 percent of U.S. moms are Hispanic, and in key markets that percentage is even more dramatic. In New York, 33 percent of all moms are Hispanic. In Dallas, that figure now hits 32 percent. And in Los Angeles, it’s nearly half at 47 percent.

This is really a remarkable number – over 1/5 mothers in the country are Hispanic. While there are a number of benefits for companies such as Proctor & Gamble and other consumer good industries, once again there is a need to focus on the “other side” of the equation. Specifically, how are these organizations assuring their organizational workforces are reflecting their customer base.

Meet the People on the Front Lines

Today I literally spent the afternoon at Northern Kentucky University visiting with their Office of Latino Student Affairs. What a wonderful group of individuals – really an understatement for all they do to serve the Hispanic students at NKU. While I was able to share my background and a little about my company, I learned much more from the students and staff than they did from me. After my informal presentation, I enjoyed an hour of  sharing ideas and perspectives with Hispanic students from Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, the United States. Although there are only 200 Hispanic students at the NKU campus, Leo Calderon, the center’s director, is passionate about serving the needs of his students. He actually knew each student by their first name! Along with his assistant, Diane Maldonado, they make an excellent team and the students are certainly fortunate to have such committed individuals supporting them.

Next month, the Office of Latino Affairs is hosting the first annual conference of ELKF (Educating Latinos for Kentucky’s Future) on February 11-12. They’ll be holding a college fair along with a conference featuring Rosa Rosales, LULAC National President, and Richard Fry, Senior Research Associate at the PEW Hispanic Center.  I’m a big fan of Mr. Fry whose work I used extensively in my doctoral dissertation. More information about the conference can be found at the ELKF website. I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the opportunities and challenges facing Hispanics in Kentucky (and in the South for that matter) to attend. It will be worth your time.

I was able to spend about an hour with Mr. Calderon in his office and was inspired to do more – particularly when it comes to helping those without a voice regarding education and career opportunities. Mr. Calderon is an example of what we Hispanics describe as “ganas” – motivation, passion, determination, and commitment. Mr. Calderon serves those that most need it - he truly defines what it means to be on the front lines. While it is easy to write about the challenges faced by Hispanic college students, it’s quite another thing seeing it first hand. I’m always inspired by those that look beyond the challenges and focus on the opportunities. The students I met today certainly demonstrate that I have so much more to learn and understand about the experiences of Hispanics in higher education.

What Box Do I Check?

The New York  Times has an intriguing article regarding the challenges faced by the 2010 Census in which citizens may not actually be able to “classify” themselves correctly on a census form. With the number of inter-racial and inter-ethnic marriages occuring in the United States, I can see how it would be challenging to classify oneself.  Here’s the money line from the article:

More than 1 in 50 Americans now identify themselves as “multiracial.” But the pattern of race reporting for foreign-born Americans, is markedly different than for native-born Americans. The foreign born are more likely to list their nation of origin when identifying race or ethnicity.  For example, while 87 percent of Americans born in Cuba and 53 percent born in Mexico identified themselves as white, a majority born in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, who are newer immigrants, described themselves as neither black nor white.

Just the other day, I met someone who is Hispanic in name and culture but is African American in appearance. I don’t think there’s a check box on the census form for him. I didn’t ask what he considered himself. Furthermore, you can just begin to imagine all different organizational dynamics that will come into play as more and more people fall under this ethnic, racial, and cultural trend. Really, really fascinating stuff.