Monthly Archives: September 2011

Where Does One Start?

Michael Spence at the The Council of Foreign Relations provides a realistic and sobering picture of the changing American economy and labor force. It’s a 55-page report that I’ve briefly reviewed but there’s excellent information regarding how the American workforce will be impacted if things don’t change. This also has major opportunities and challenges for the Latino workforce.

They note that the American economy has seen the lower and middle components of the value-added chain moving to the rapidly growing markets abroad and warn that soon higher-paying jobs may follow low-paying jobs in leaving the United States. The actions of the free market have made goods less expensive for Americans, but the free flow of labor and capital has also diminished the employment opportunities available in the United States and will, the authors warn, continue to do so at all levels of society.

Breaking the Silos

Hispanic Heritage month is an appropriate time to come together and contemplate where Latinos stand as a community – to take stock. It’s also an opportunity.

We must look to ourselves: to come together, to reexamine, and lead on what needs to be changed within our community.

Many look toward organizations, government, and others to lead on this task; however, this is our responsibility. We need not look elsewhere to provide leadership on this topic.

When I speak to different organizations, educators, students, and friends, they’re eager to be part of the solution. Many of them are working on various initiatives aimed at helping their respective Latino causes. Yet, many believe they’re not doing enough.

And the rationale for this sentiment is that they’re often not sure how to tear down the silos that often keep our community from leveraging our strengths, our talents, and our creativity.

Given what the challenges are and what opportunities exist for Latinos, there is no question we need to come together.

Breaking Back Work

Multi-American shares an article that describes the experiences of a journalist working  jobs “most Americans won’t do.”  Based on the book, Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won’t Do, it’s a shocking narrative of what migrant workers still endure.

He did, working in menial jobs alongside predominantly foreign-born Latinos, some with papers, some without. The grueling jobs ranged from lettuce harvesting in the Yuma, Arizona sun to separating chicken parts in a frigid Alabama poultry processing plant. His challenge, Thompson writes, was “to keep showing up for the next shift,” in spite of a perpetually sore body.

In Yuma he harvested lettuce with Mexican guest workers, earning $8.37 an hour. Upon asking why harvesting broccoli paid less, a supervisor explained. “Broccoli grows higher up. So you can cut it higher. For lettuce you have to cut it near the ground, so you bend over more.”

Filling the Talent Gap

The Economist examines how organizations are addressing the talent gap. While we have high unemployment rates, organizations are still challenged to find the right talent to fill specific jobs. Additionally, many organizations have still not changed their traditional development models to address changing demographics:

Nor do companies seem to have given enough thought to dealing with important demographic shifts. For example, even though women have been flooding into the labour market in growing numbers in the past few decades, the “glass ceiling” that stops them getting to the top mostly remains in place…. One problem is that “most companies are still structured around one type of career-advancement model, and if a woman doesn’t conform to that model she won’t progress.”

Great point when one considers the Latino workforce as well.

Latinos Defy an MBA Trend

The WSJ reports that MBA applications are on a downward trend:

Applications for two-year, full-time M.B.A. programs that start this fall dropped an average of 9.9% from a year earlier, according to new data from the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the Graduate Management Admission Test. The decline marks the third year in a row that applications have fallen.

However, GMAT data shows that there seems to be one demographic group that seems to be bucking the trend – Latinos:

Out of 127,061 GMAT exams taken by US citizens in testing year 2010 (July 1, 2009–June 30, 2010), 7,486 were taken by Hispanic Americans, a 25 percent increase from five years before.


Reality Check: Where’s the Latinio STEM Workforce?

The Department of Commerce just released the last report of three-part series on STEM careers. The last report here focuses on minorities in these industries. The report once again highlights the tough work ahead:

This report finds that non‐Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics have been consistently underrepresented in STEM jobs over the past decade. Non‐Hispanic Black and Hispanic workers are half as likely as all workers to have STEM jobs.

According to the report, the total Latino workforce in STEM careers hovers around two percent.


Busy Time

A lot on my plate the last few days including a slew of new classes, new research work and ideas, and trying to create a new routine here in our new home of Madison. Things will level out but posts will be sporadic for a bit – so much to write – so little time! Saludos!