Monthly Archives: March 2010

Junior Achievement: Making an Impact

As a kid, I remember having volunteers from Junior Achievement come into my classroom and teach me about selling pencils for a profit. Years later as a business student at the University of Texas at El Paso, I was an active member of Junior Achievement. I had a wonderful time teaching elementary kids about the same basic business principles and serving as a role model in a city that is over 70% Hispanic.

Fast forward to today, I recently made a great online (Twitter) friend in Amy Boroff, the Development Director for Junior Achievement of New Jersey. Tomorrow, Amy and her New Jersey Junior Achievement team along with the New Jersey chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), and NJ corporate employee resource groups, are putting on the The Latino Professional JA Community Day.  Through their efforts, more than 450 predominately Hispanic students at a local elementary school in Newark will receive Junior Achievement’s financial literacy-based programs. 

By increasing the number of Latino volunteer role models, this type of project will directly help to impact students’ attitudes, behavior, and self-efficacy towards work readiness, post-secondary educational opportunities, financial literacy and future careers. Representatives of organizations such as Prudential, Ernst & Young, Wachovia, BASF, and many others will participate in the event.

I’ve written many times about organizations that “get it” and make an impact in helping develop the Hispanic workforce. Amy and her team, as well as all the organizations involved, deserve a lot of credit and kudos for their efforts. Activities like these made an impact on me at a very young age. So THANKS for your efforts from this JA program alumnus and now professor of management.

Thank you so very much!

More Attention: Hispanic College Grad Rates

Big news out today focuses on a study conducted by  the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research regarding the latest numbers of Hispanic college graduates in the context of making it a national priority. Among some of the key findings of the report:

51 percent of Hispanic students complete a bachelor’s degree in six years compared to 59 per cent of white students

Gaps between white and Hispanic graduation rates are smaller at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). (Some persepective as to why are included in full report).

Hispanic women graduate at consistently higher rates than Hispanic men

These are not surprising numbers; we’ve covered them at length here at HTM over the last few months. The report does a fair job of discussing the issues associated with this gap as well as provides what colleges that graduate more Hispanics are doing right; they include:

A High Level of Institutional Commitment

Better Consumer Information

A Focus on Retention and Graduation Rates

Institutional Incentives for Improvement

I’ve mentioned a lot of these important points since the HTM blog started last year. While the report obviously shows a long road ahead, I think we’ve come a long way over the last few years in increasing awareness and developing better strategies for graduating more Hispanic college students. More work obviously needs to be done; however, I’m glad to see that studies like these and others are shining the light on this important issue and its importance to the long-term economic future of this country.

Two Organizations that "Get It"

I often write about why organizations and employers need to understand and recognize the importance of the Hispanic workforce. And while direct recruitment is important, so are the other efforts that organizations can undertake to demonstrate that they have a sincere interest in developing and supporting this group. Hence, always nice to see when organizations actually “get it.” The University of St. Louis, for example, is establishing a new research initiative to examine issues facing the region’s growing Latino population. Rather than competing, colleges and universities in the region are collaborating, sharing, and building discussions to help support and understand the growing Hispanic population. In addition, my favorite airline, Southwest Airlines, is teaming up with HACU to award Hispanic students (and immediate family) to travel to/from a college or university.  The tickets will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate Hispanic students with socio-economic needs who journey away from home to pursue higher education. Effort. Commitment. Support. These organizations “get it.”

The C-Level: Still a Challenge for Hispanics

PODER360 shares a great article on the efforts of HACR and their advocacy for increasing the number of Hispanics in CEO positions.  According to the article:

As of 2006, some 22 Hispanics held positions as CEO, chair or president at Fortune 1000 companies. This was up from 16 in 2003, according to the Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR).
Even with the small bump over 3 years, these numbers are dismal by any standard. It shows there is much work yet to be done in promoting and developing Hispanic professional talent in organizational leadership ranks.  A list of current Hispanic CEOs is provided.

Strength in Our Diversity

AOL News had a great article today on the strength of diversity, and how it has, is, and will reshape the American landscape from many perspectives including the workforce. From racial composition, multi-cultural backgrounds, immigration, and the suburbs, diversity is touching almost every aspect of our society. Money line from the article:

Large American companies are also increasingly led by people with roots in foreign countries, including 14 of the CEOs of the 2007 Fortune 100. Even corporate America — once the almost-exclusive reserve of native-born Anglo-Saxons — will become as post-ethnic as the larger society.

While I think there’s definitely much more work to be done in this regard, the article gives organizations and employers a good idea of what’s coming down the road in the not too distant future.

Still Missing an Opportunity

Good article in the WSJ discussing that engineers are the highest college graduate money makers with petroleum and computer science majors making up the top two fields. A great opportunity for Hispanic college students; however; while Hispanics are entering the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields in greater numbers, according to the NCES, they still lag in completion rates. White students had a higher STEM bachelor’s degree completion rate than did Hispanic or Black students. According to the NSES, less than 6% of engineering graduates are represented by Hispanics.  No question that increasing the number of engineering grads is imperative to the economic sustainability of the United States. Yet, engineering educational institutions as well as employers have not been effectively developing or tapping the skills and talents of Hispanics – a still missed opportunity.