Monthly Archives: January 2010

A "Menudo" of Links

As always, there’s not enough time in the day for all the things one wants to accomplish – but in many ways it’s a nice problem to have lately! Below are some thoughts regarding some articles that caught my attention over the last week. Enjoy!

Hispanics and Volunteering: A fascinating look at how much and how often Hispanics volunteer. The article appreciates the changing demographics in the U.S. and considers how non-profits or organizations that depend highly on volunteers will survive given the lack of participation from many minority groups. From a Hispanic perspective, one could go in many different directions given that Hispanics are incredibly collective but at the same time more attuned to helping family first. In addition, it provides an opportunity for someone in the non-profit sector to provide some consulting advice to these organizations on how to increase their Hispanic volunteers. Hmmm – that’s a thought.   

Bigger and Bigger: Galindo Publishing provides some nice stats regarding the Hispanic market and how it really is in the best interest of organizations to think beyond just marketing and advertising their products to the Hispanic market. In many ways, Hispanics will begin to take notice of how an organization’s workforce reflects the Hispanic community. If organizations are not convinced of this trend, check out the recent article in The Economist.

Economic Snapshot:  The Center for American Progress provides some grim but somewhat hopeful news regarding the economic situation in the U.S. Hispanics are still hovering around the 12% mark for unemployment.  Meanwhile the El Paso Times does an excellent job providing an overview of the Hispanic talent market.

Hispanic Magazine Advertising Decreasing: The economic situation is taking a toll on those advertisers marketing to Hispanics via Hispanic magazines and other outlets. Seems like Hispanic advertising budgets are the first to be slashed. According to this article, “Despite being already underrepresented in Corporate America’s budgets, Hispanic advertising, and even more Hispanic magazine advertising, declined more than general market advertising.” Long-term, this could be a costly mistake and potentially backfire since Hispanics are incredibly brand loyal- as consumers and employees.

Debunking:  A great piece via American Public Media on debunking Latino worker stereotypes. The numbers in the study say it all – much better than I could!

Hispanic Mentors: My favorite piece so far this week. A Hispanic student who serves as a mentor for another  high school student in Utah. The power of mentoring cannot be overstated. Love it.

Double the Impact

I just got back from a NSHMBA networking event over at the University of Phoenix campus here in Cincy. It was a great opportunity to meet some new faces and say hello to my friends in the Hispanic community. I’ve been involved with NSHMBA for some time now – first as a college recruiter with Nestle, and now as a member and contributor to their journal. Thanks to their efforts, NSHMBA has been instrumental in increasing the number of Hispanic MBA’s by providing career guidance, preparation, and job fairs. Tonights event was sponsored by the University of Phoenix-Cincinnati. While I teach mostly online for UOP, I’ve got some great friends here at the local campus too. You’ll be amazed to know that UOP currently enrolls close to 48,000 Hispanic students and employs more than double the national average of Hispanic faculty. Without question, both of these organizations are making an impact in helping to increase the number of Hispanic professionals in organizations today. I’m proud to be associated with both.

Hispanic Mediated Culture

Poder360 recently had a great article discussing the latest Hispanic technological and internet-related trends. While there has been substantial progress in this regard among Hispanics, there is still a sizeable technological access gap that exists between Hispanics and other groups –  known by many as the “digital divide.” While these statistics are both positive and negative, one can safely say they’re trending upward. In many ways, the advent of technology aligns nicely with Hispanic cultural traits. Take for instance social media.

Hispanics are incredibly communal. They enjoy being in groups: networking, sharing, talking, debating – anything that provides personal interaction. This cultural characteristic is also very evident on social media sites where Hispanics have formed any number of groups and networks to achieve the same but mediated interaction. Blogs such as Latino Rebranded, The Latino Edge, and others do a great job of discussing and blogging about how social media is impacting Hispanic cultural interactions. Jump on Twitter and search #latism, #latino, and #Hispanic,. Browse  Twitteros – and check out the results there. Marketers, advertisers, entrepreneurs, and especially recruiters are and should be taking note that the digital divide is certainly closing – mostly with help of Hispanic cultural bridges.

Learning on Isle 15

You never know when a learning opportunity will present itself. Today it happened in the grocery store. While on the road in Chicago today, I needed to stock up on some travel supplies so I went to a local grocery store. As I entered, I noticed the store had what looked to be a terrific deli section so I walked over to see if anything looked appetizing. As I browsed the menu and selections, I noted a businesswoman doing the same thing, and I asked if she had any recommendations. She suggested the chicken salad, but since I’m a vegetarian, I asked if she had another choice. I noted she had a Latin accent so I asked about her background. It turns out she is a 1st generation Hispanic and works as a bank officer for a bank down the road. As we waited for our respective orders, we discussed her career and work environment. Since my current study was on my mind, I asked what she felt was an important factor to her success thus far. Without hesitation she said it was her ability to develop relationships. She said while other skills were also essential, relationship and building rapport came naturally because of her culture.

We spoke a couple of more minutes before she scrambled out the door and back to her office. As I made myself down another isle, I asked a stocking clerk for help finding a brand of eye drops. Again, I was greeted by a Latin accent and discovered the woman was from Puerto Rico. I couldn’t resist striking up another conversation (I rarely get to talk in Spanish) and asked why she enjoyed her job. Like the banking officer before her, she said it was all about the relationships and that she enjoyed being able to help shoppers find what they wanted. The feeling of helping someone, even if it was just to find the right bar of soap, gave her a lot of satisfaction.

As I left the store, I was struck by how two very different Hispanic workers shared a single and common Hispanic cultural characteristic – building relationships. It’s a powerful tool. We as Hispanics love to build relationships and make friends. We like the thought of community and enjoy listening, sharing, and helping others. We enjoy working in teams and foster camaraderie. We carry these communal traits as an innate qualities and employ them in both our social and professional environments – even while stocking shelves on isle 15.

Representation Matters

An article in the New York Times today reports that from 2003 to 2008, 61 percent of black applicants and 46 percent of Mexican-American applicants were denied acceptance at all of the law schools to which they applied, compared with 34 percent of white applicants. While there are a number of issues, challenges, and cultural factors associated with these statistics, it again reminds us of how these trends have long-term implications in a variety of settings.

Particularly within the legal profession, a lack of racial and/or ethnic diversity in this important area of our society can potentially chip away the confidence people have in justice and equality in our courts. While there is a variety of research in this regard, certainly more needs to be done in a broader context to address the ethnic and racial composition of our legal industry (including federal and state courts).  The legal industry is no different than what is occurring in most other work environments.

Support Minority Small Business Growth

Over the last decade, minority and women-owned businesses have constituted over 50 percent of the two million businesses created in the United States. A report out today shows that women are becoming the nation’s job-creation engine, starting small businesses and stimulating new jobs at a rate that outdistances their male counterparts and disproportionately exceeds their current contribution to U.S. employment. This report comes just after labor force statistics indicate women will be make up the majority of the U.S. workforce this year. Times are certainly changing.

According to the Small Business Administration, between 1997 and 2002, the number of Hispanic-owned firms increased by 31 percent, with Hispanics owning 6.6% of U.S. businesses. The $820 billion Hispanic market is also flexing its muscles. Hispanic spending power has made significant contributions over the last decade, especially during these tough economic times.

Women and minority business owners will  have become members of a powerful movement. These latest reports confirm that Hispanic Americans, for example, are occupationally and economically diverse. Indicators such as level of business ownership suggest a diverse, hard working, and entrepreneurial population. Yet, it is frustrating to read accounts that economic stimulus funds are disproportionately not reaching minority businesses – particularly when maximizing opportunities for minorities and women-owned businesses are in the best economic interest of everyone.

College Problem: Cost or Aid Education

I came across this article yesterday making the argument that the problem with college is not dropouts but costs. Although the article did not discuss it specifically, financial aid is an issue that most Hispanic college students confront when they consider the choice betwen a 4 year instituion or community college. It got me thinking about Hispanics and how they pay for college, and I came across these statistics via Sallie Mae that supported some of the article’s arguments:

A higher percentage of Hispanics (59%) indicated they eliminated institutions before even formally considering a school than whites (41%) or blacks (41%).

Hispanics who eliminated schools because of cost were also likely to consider other cost savings measures. For example, Hispanics were more likely than whites or blacks to consider living at home or attending a community college. Hispanics were more likely than whites to consider postponing college or attending part-time.

Hispanic parents most frequently cited affordability as the reason children drop out of college.

Many Hispanic families are not adequately planning for college prior to the end of high school. More than two thirds of Hispanic parents did not receive any financial aid information while their child was in K-12 and more than half (56 percent) of the young adults who were not attending college indicated that they had not received any financial aid information in K-12.

Hispanic families borrowed less frequently, but when they borrowed, they indicated it was critical to their ability to stay in college. Hispanic students were more likely to borrow than their parents, compared to the overall population.

Interesting and sobering facts when you consider that most of these challenges can be either overcome or reduced by educating more Hispanic high school and/or college students with the right information. I was no different early in my college career. I had no idea the amount of grants, student loan options, or work study programs available to me until AFTER I started college. It really made my first year in college harder than it should have been. Although I had saved enough to pay for school myself, many others do not have that option.

Trends Impacting the Hispanic Workforce

I’ve tweeted about a lot this week but wanted to share some thoughts below (with associated links) since I think they highlight continued trends regarding the importance of the growing Hispanic workforce. Enjoy!

Hispanics in the South: The University of Alabama is hosting a one day conference on the growing presence of Hispanics in the South. This is growing trend with states such as GA, TN, and NC already experiencing significant growth over the last decade. I lived in Little Rock, AR. for two years and saw tremendous growth of the Hispanic population during my time there. Little Rock actually hosted the LULAC National Convention there a few years ago. It was a great convention!

Education Where It’s Needed: Teach for America is offering potential Hispanic teachers the opportunity to give back to their community by placing them in areas where they’re needed the most – they’re own communities. Teach for America salaries are just a bit higher if a candidate teaches in an urban or high need area. The organization recruits college graduates from all backgrounds, trains them, and places them where there is a high need. A great opportunity to give back, make a difference, and begin a career in education.

Intel Making a DifferenceIntel is investing in providing K-8 teachers professional development on math content by taking an innovative approach.  This Intel Math program is an intensive 80 hour course facilitated by a practicing mathematician and a math educator.  The curriculum is available for free to any state in the US.  Another organization making a difference is my alma mater – The University of Texas at El Paso. I worked at the career center there and it’s where I earned my BA and MA degrees. With more than 70% of its student body of Hispanic descent- it’s making a huge difference in graduating students into STEM careers .

Hispanic Trends for 2010: Jose Villa provides some excellent thoughts regarding Hispanic marketing trends for 2010. I’ve insisted that many of these same ideas can be applied to recruiting Hispanic professionals into the workplace. I particularly like his thoughts regarding generational differences and acculturation.

Demographic Trends: The NewYork Times shared an article on how seven states in the U.S. have seen a decrease in their 18 and under population. The list of states is provided in the article. Despite some of these contractions, the Hispanic population in these states is still growing.

Future Leadership:  I’ve long advocated that organizations need to tap and exploit growing pools of talent for future leadership – especially as more Hispanics graduate from college. To this thought, Kevin Wheeler shares some ideas regarding the future of leadership. With baby-boomers and non-Hispanic whites decreasing in population, there will be a definite leadership gap in the coming decade.

When Barriers Equal Opportunity

I’ve been staring at this graphic for a few days now (always hidden behind countless other tabs on Firefox), and it comes courtesy of the Latinum Network. If you’re not familiar with the Latinum Network, it is a business network devoted exclusively to helping corporations penetrate the Hispanic market. I like this model for several reasons including its focus on what are common challenges for any organization targeting the Hispanic market. I also like that many of the concepts associated with the model are relevant to the recruitment of Hispanic talent.

No question that the $850+ billion Hispanic market is attractive to organizations and so is the growing Hispanic workforce. Yet, organizations face challenges when it comes to effectively attracting them to their organizations. Unlike marketing and advertising experts that understand that niche marketing has significant benefits, organizations have yet to apply these same concepts toward recruiting Hispanics into the workforce. Hence, there might be inconsistent results in their efforts.

Certainly, organizations might question the economic sense of customizing some of their recruiting resources toward reaching a certain demographic group; however, I’m also sure they wouldn’t mind having a bigger slice of its $850 billion buying power. There is a definite upside and long-term ROI potential in adding more culturally aware employees to their marketing teams. So what are the barriers – what stops them from doing it?

Why aren’t more organizations customizing more of their recruiting efforts to reach this growing talent market?Organizations might see this model as a way to solve a problem. But what if this model was reframed as an opportunity? Then what could be seen? Opportunity implies possibilities. Possibilities suggest multiple paths – and growth.