Monthly Archives: January 2010

Pipeline Dreams

The idea of generational progress is a powerful principle when one thinks about the American Dream. My parents came to the United States hoping that the lives of their children, and their children’s children, would improve through education and hard work. With close to 50 grand-and-great-grand kids out there doing a lot of different things professionally and academically, I can attest that they’ve not been disappointed.

While progress is being made, some will still argue that Hispanic progress toward economic parity is not improving enough. I have no argument with that – more strides need do need to be made. Hispanics are still one of the most economically disadvantaged groups in the United States, however, it does not mean that they aren’t making progress in the areas of employment, health, and education.

For 20 years, The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine, has been a voice in following the development of Hispanics in the area of education. Debuting in 1990, the magazine has shared some wonderful facts in an article regarding the progress, and lack thereof, Hispanics have made in 20 years. The article provides some excellent reading regarding overall educational attainment and challenges.

From 1992 to 2002 the number of bachelor’s degree recipients doubled among…schools conferring those degrees on Hispanic students. Eleven thousand more Hispanics received bachelor’s degrees from 2002 to 2005. As of 2008, the latest figures from the U.S. Census reveal that 13 percent of the Hispanic population 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. That same report showed that the number of Hispanics 18 and older who had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2008 was 3.6 million, up from 1.7 million a decade earlier.

One interesting graph shows that Hispanic females are far outpacing Hispanic males in college enrollment. While these numbers still show a significant disparity when compared to overall college enrollment rates, they do indicate progress is being made. There are certainly many more Hispanics in the college education pipeline heading toward the workforce than there were 20 years ago.  Instead of a drip, it’s more like a flow. Is it as fast as we’d like to see? No. But certainly, I would argue that there are a lot of Hispanic parents and grandparents out there liking what they see.

The Best Birthday Gift

Today was my birthday. One of the disadvantages of having a birthday so soon after the holidays is that everyone is suffering from Christmas and New Year’s Day fatigue (or hangovers), so much, that it really takes a lot of effort to get excited all over again - this is true for me as well! Not to mention everyone is back into “work mode” after the long break. While my wife, kids, and family always make it a very special day, I usually find myself trying to get back into a routine - you know, what life was like before Thanksgiving Day.   

Today was different. After three weeks of reducing a 200+ page dissertation into a 25 page manuscript, a month of waiting, a couple more weeks of revisions, and two more weeks of waiting, I received word today that my submitted manuscript to the Business Journal of Hispanic Research (BJHR) will be published. Frankly, it struck me more than my doctorate graduation ceremony – probably because it was unexpected. Not because the paper was lacking in some way, but because BJHR is a peer-reviewed journal. In other words, it’s reviewed and approved by scholars who really know the material you’re writing about. Putting your work (and yourself) in front of  academic peers can be intimidating, particularly if you’re a ”newbie” doctor like myself.  

In many ways, it’s also another example of what my academic journey has been like to this point. One of facing closed doors, opening them, walking through them, and discovering that they lead to more opportunities – and more doors. And all the while, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate each room during my journey. This is one of the many “firsts” I’ve had in my life, another opened door, one that I’ll remember for a long time, not because it’s my first published academic article, but because it was great birthday present to myself.  

Happy Birthday Dr. Corona. ; )

One Week Can Bring Real Change

Someone once told me you can live a lifetime in a week. This notion is even more apparent today as we undergo a period of change – weekly it seems. With the first decade of the 21st century now complete, industry and workplace environments are changing so quickly that it sometimes feels like one can hardly keep up. A perfect example is the first week of 2010. Since beginning HTM, I’ve already witnessed change in the Hispanic talent market – particularly when it comes to how organizations are recognizing the importance of tapping the Hispanic workforce and leadership talent pool.  

While HTM and my associated company serve a narrowly targeted workforce segment, initiatives and efforts by companies to focus on the Hispanic workforce demonstrate that it’s of vital importance to the economic vitality of the United States on a global scale. Not only within the realm of developing Hispanic leaders in organizations today, but also in planning for their future well before they enter the workforce.

Despite some of the economic troubles that are impacting employment today, overall Hispanics are still making a positive impact on the economy and, in many ways, softening the blow to what is a tough economic period. While this contribution is apparent to the marketing and advertising gurus, some organizations are just now starting to realize why it’s also important to bring more Hispanic talent and leaders into their organizations.

Like any type of change, transformation requires a clear sense of where you are going. Incorporating more Hispanic talent and leaders requires organizations to remain open-minded and aware about their external environment. In a way, organizations must incorporate the concept from the field of anthropology, asking questions: where are the future leaders going to come from? How do I modify my recruiting approach to find them? How do I gain their interest in order to gain their trust?  Yes, change is sweeping the world already in 2010. We are on the edge of a new tomorrow, especially when it comes to the new Hispanic workforce.

Women: The New Workforce Majority

A great article in this week’s Economist regarding an historic milestone: in a few months women will make up more than half of the American workforce. Certainly a “mixed” achievement considering that women still often make less than men (substanitially less for Hispanic and other minority women). When you review leadership at the C-Level of Fortune 500 organizations, women still make up less than 10% of CEO’s.  While women are graduating from colleges and universities at higher rate than men, there is still a discrepancy when it comes to gender equality in U.S. organizations in terms of earnings and experience.

Women and Hispanics share many of the same challenges – many I’ve written about over these last few months. When one sees disappointing statistics such as these, it’s not difficult to become impassioned about making a difference to change it.  Whether it’s women, Hispanics, African-Americans, the physically challenged, or people of differing sexual orientation, inclusion is not just about recognizing our differences, but about whether individuals in organizations feel respected and valued. Individuals want to know that they make a difference.

As more women and people of color enter the workforce, we should aspire to create organizational cultures that also change to meet their needs. This type of change does not imply a decrease in performance, but it does include a different way of conducting business so that everyone is valued for their equal contribution.

The New Latino Leaders

Ruben Navarrette Jr.’s recent article on emerging Hispanic leaders is very interesting.  He lists some of the young Hispanic leaders, a new generation of leaders, that are making a name for themselves in the political arena. He adds an interesting wrinkle to his thoughts – that of generational differences between today’s Hispanic leaders and those from the 1960′s. Interesting perspective indeed as Ruben describes the differences older and younger generations have in regard to social and cultural objectives. 

It seems a lot of the tension he describes was brought about by perceptions, for example, the perception of prejudice or role models. As I grew up, Cesar Chavez and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales were a larger than life figures in Los Angeles, where I grew up. My parents, their friends, and my older sisters could identify with what leaders like Cesar Chavez were trying to do in helping unionize farm workers in California as well as change the political landscape. The next generation of Hispanics have very different perceptions. Today, we also have very different Hispanic role models -in politics, business, and entertainment – Hispanic culture is much more mainstream and interwoven into the American fabric. Anyway, a great piece to read.

Making College Relevant

The New York Times has a great article regarding how colleges and universities are adjusting their curriculums in response to the changing market conditions. Not unusual since through out history, college curriculums have adjusted to the needs of society, particularly employers. However, there seems to be a difference this time around given the budget cuts faced by many academic institutions. College Liberal Arts budgets are vulnerable to the increased need in technology, science, and business. However, there is a danger to taking from Peter to pay Paul. The article addresses this concern: Continue reading

Ready, Set, Go….

As I review my leftover “to do” list from 2009, I’m excited to begin a new year and a new decade. It promises one to be filled with both excitement and challenges. Here at HTM, we’ll be introducing two new features. First, we’ll be incorporating podcasts starting later this month. Podcasts will follow the same theme that you’ve seen over the last few months, but with contributions from subject experts in a number of areas related to the Hispanic workforce. Although I anticipate some minor technological hic-cups along the way, I’m confident it will add a lot of value to the HTM site. Second, we’ll be adding some “vlog” (video post) content before Spring. Again, these posts will be geared at the same type of content with some local and regional guests appearing via HTM. We have some folks here in Cincinnati and the Tr-State area (OH, IN, KY) that are incredibly knowledgeable about the Hispanic workforce. Adding their perspectives can only improve what we’ve started here.  Third, the first few weeks promise to be busy. I’m waiting to hear back regarding a manuscript I submitted to the Business Journal of Hispanic Studies, I’ve got an online presentation coming up this week, and a graduate class that begins next week. Finally, I’m working on my next study that will hopefully be completed by this Spring.

So it all begins again tomorrow – here’s to a great and prosperous 2010. See you soon.