Monthly Archives: April 2010

The AZ Fallout in the Workplace

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the recent immigration law passed in Arizona will eventually impact the Hispanic workforce. Obviously, the ramifications from a business, consumer, social, political, and educational perspective are enormous. The issue is still very fluid and many of the long-term and indirect consequences will impact the Hispanic workforce for many years. Take this initial story about  Hispanic professionals in Phoenix, Arizona – fearing they’ll be targeted based soley on their appearance. More to come.

Pictures Worth a Million Words….

I came across this excellent multi-media article profiling the experiences of six Hispanic college students. Each student provides their unique perspective of being Hispanic and a college student. I’ve noted many times that one often learns more by listening to others’ experiences than researching or studying them. Take some time to watch and read this incredible article – you’ll learn a lot as I did.

Leader for a New Latino Generation

Jason Riveiro is a leader of the new Hispanic generation. Originally from Houston, Texas, Jason arrived to Cincinnati six years ago and quickly filled a leadership vacuum in regards to Hispanic rights and issues in the Tristate area (Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana). In a very short time, Jason has established himself as an advocate for the rights and issues that impact Hispanics in this region. As the State Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Ohio, Jason led the way to bringing next year’s LULAC national convention to Cincinnati. In this edition of HTM Podcast, Jason discusses his efforts with LULAC as well as shares his perspective about the Hispanic workforce.

Update:  Jason just became the first Latino in the history of Cincinnati to run for City Council.


Participation in Higher Education Still a Dream

I came across this article written by a Hispanic academic that shares her perspective regarding the progress of Hispanics in higher education. And while this type of story is all too familiar it’s always emotional to read a personal story or experience. Dr. Pegueros story is our story – her hopes are our hopes. The college experience is usually a personal one. As college students, we invest our time, money, and energy to create a foundation for a better future – perhaps in academia as an educator. The opportunity to do so motivates families to begin saving for their children’s college education long before they set foot on a college campus. Yet, despite this personal intention, what receives less of a commitment is our social investment in higher education, particularly for those that face the challenges discussed by Dr. Pegueros. Despite higher education advocating support for increasing faculty and student diversity, there has still not been a significant improvement on this front.

Who Benefits Most from College?

I came across a great study about who benefits most from college. The underlying premise of the study examines how the economic return to a college education varies across members of the U.S. population (there’s a lot of theoretical content as well if you’re interested!). A fascinating result of the study indicates that people most likely to benefit from a college education are the least likely to obtain one. Furthermore, the study states that people from disadvantaged social backgrounds who attend college might use education as a means for economic mobility, while those who have an advantaged social background are not driven by the same rationale.

I’m sure many would find this an obvious conclusion – of course someone from a disadvantaged background will gain more from a college education. Indeed, makes sense to me as well. However, the results should also provide some food for thought. The assumption here is that disadvantaged groups such as Hispanics, African Americans, women and other minorities are afforded the same opportunity as advantaged people to attend college. We know this is not the case. Another assumption is that people from disadvantaged backgrounds have the same career support structures and networks that advantaged people do. We know that minorities historically have had to overcome barriers such as the lack of mentors, leader representation, and discrimination to succeed in the workplace.

As someone that came from a disadvantaged background via immigrants from Mexico, I can appreciate the results of the study. Much of my motivation and determination to obtain a college degree was economically driven. I wanted to also fulfill the dreams my parents had for me.  However, my later educational pursuits, especially my masters and doctorate degrees, were driven by most parents’ desire to provide better opportunities for their children.

Internships: Part of the New Career Equation

A college education is important. Traditionally, it’s been the most important factor in creating a path toward a successful career. This prevailing sentiment fittingly suggests that a college degree drives career opportunities: in a nutshell, to obtain better job choices, get a college degree. This thinking has always been reinforced by statistics showing that college graduates consistently earn higher wages and are more successful in their careers than those without a college degree. Given this sound logic, more people are attending college and earning their degrees. Ironically because of this trend, a better educated population coupled with an increasingly globalized economy has made the talent market more competitive. A college degree has become more like career requisite than a career advantage. Given the complex and changing economic environment, today’s college graduate must posses a new premium that goes beyond a college degree. This is why securing an internship, possibly two, during  a student’s college years is now so critical to long-term career opportunities.

Students receive advice from career counselors, instructors, peers, and career websites about the many advantages of obtaining an internship: the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in a “real world” setting; the opportunity to develop professional relationships and contacts prior to graduation; the opportunity build additional knowledge that enhances classroom understanding; and the opportunity to become acquainted with organizational structures and cultures. These are all very important motivations to seek out professional experience prior to graduation; however, there are other reasons I’ve alluded to above. Continue reading