Monthly Archives: November 2011

Latino ‘Federales’

The representation of Latinos in the federal workforce is an issue discussed a few times via this blog. Some movement by President Obama on this via a recent executive order asking all agencies for road maps to increase diversity.

According to Government Executive:

Recruiting young Hispanics for federal jobs will be vital, with large numbers of civil servants set to retire in the coming years, Sepulveda said. The council will recommend sending representatives to engage with students at colleges and universities with high Hispanic populations, as well as to recruit heavily for the Pathways federal internship program.


The Glass Ceiling and the “boys”

I can appreciate Hugo Schwyser’s thoughts here regarding the “old boys’ network (OBN).” Being very fair-skinned, many assume I’m not Latino. Hence, my interactions with some corporate peers early in my career  provided many “fly on the wall” moments. It was a fascinating opportunity. Once the secret was out so were the exclusive happy hour and dinner invitations.

The OBN, unfortunately, is still alive and well:

Whether they’re found in corporations or athletic departments or churches, Old Boys’ Networks often tend to be characterized by three things: an insistence on intense loyalty to the organization, a disdain for outsiders, and a systematic process by which younger men (but rarely young women) are groomed by older ones for future leadership.

Public vs. Private Compensation: No Competition

One important reason the public sector has a hard time recruiting the best and brightest – via Economic Policy Institute:

When looking at total compensation including employer-provided benefits, this gap narrowed but the private sector workers still earned $2,001 more per year than public sector workers ($71,109 in total compensation, versus $69,108). This gap was especially large among more educated workers. College-educated workers on averages earned $22,966 less in total compensation.

Latinos and Assimilation

Great report put out by Center for American Progress regarding assimilation among new immigrants including Latinos. The report examines the future outlook for immigrants, projecting their gains through 2030. The report counters some conventional wisdom regarding Latinos and assimilation. Money quote:

Hispanic newcomers show very positive rates of advancement by 2030. This is contrary to assertions of nativist scholars such as Samuel Huntington who argue that Hispanic immigrants are not assimilating by dint of their large numbers and proximity to their home country. Hispanic immigrants’ advancements mirror that of all immigrants, albeit from a lower starting point.

Embracing vs. fighting realities

I’m always fascinated about why some communities make an effort to incorporate immigrants into their society while others do not, especially in education.

The Toledo Public School District in Ohio, for example, is working with New Mexico Highlands University to provide Latino high school students the opportunity to attend college in other states; and the University of Arkansas (located in Fayetteville) just received a $121,000 grant from its state to examine why Latino high school graduates are not as prepared for college as non-Latino students.

The opposite is true in states like Alabama and South Carolina. In fact, legislation in these states has created an environment filled with fear and apprehension among Latinos – even elementary school children. Ironically, I came across this 2005 white paper via the University of South Carolina website which begins with the following passage by Jorge Ramos:

To most, America is still the country where human rights, opportunity, and success are possibilities; it inherently inspires hope in those who want nothing more than to make their contribution.

Like I said – fascinating.

Pleasant Work

Business Week has a great article regarding why some Americans choose not to do “dirty jobs.” Money quote:

Massey says Americans didn’t turn away from the work merely because it was hard or because of the pay but because they had come to think of it as beneath them. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the job itself,” he says. In other countries, citizens refuse to take jobs that Americans compete for. In Europe, Massey says, “auto manufacturing is an immigrant job category. Whereas in the States, it’s a native category.”

Articles like this remind me of my first job – not working in a poultry factory or picking crops but still a job no one wanted.

While in high school, a buddy and I worked as the maintenance crew for a pool equipment manufacturing company in Los Angeles. We essentially cleaned administrative offices, vacuumed, etc. However, our job also included cleaning the manufacturing floor bathrooms on a daily basis.

With 99% of the production floor being men, you can imagine it wasn’t the most wholesome environment. On many days, the bathroom needed to be cleaned twice during our short four hour stay. Since we were teenagers, and many of the men thought it was funny, they would urinate on the floor, toss soiled toilet tissues on the floor, and leave behind overflowing toilets. And yet, we did our jobs.

When we finally “moved up” to a different job in the company (shipping and receiving!), we were occasionally asked to clean the bathrooms because either our replacements quit or others refused.

Pursuing the Tipping Point in Latino Education

If you’ve not yet read The Tipping Point (non-affiliate link), you should.

It’s a book about change. Malcom Gladwell offers a different approach about comprehending change, and why it seems to occur as quickly as it does.  One premise of his book is that change occurs all at once, and the smallest shift, can be the “tipping point” for a new idea, behavior, message, or product. The process is often invisible because it occurs over time, often unnoticed until something “tips.”

When it comes to Latinos and education, this process is occurring all around us. In most cases, the process is “invisible” because people and organizations interested in supporting Latino education are shifting the landscape – daily.

Consider organizations such as New Futuro, an organization that helps Latino students attend college. New Futuro just held a massive summit to help Latino students and their parents learn how to prepare, apply and pay for college.

The Lumina Foundation, an organization that advocates for higher education, just awarded a grant for its “Triangle for Latino Student Success” project on the campus of the University of North Carolina.

Hispanic Community Action Summits have been held across country as part of President Barack Obama administration’s Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

College campuses around the country, particularly in the Midwest and Northwest are witnessing an increasing number of Latino college enrollments. In many instances, these same Latinos are reviving cities and regions that are losing their populations.

Initiatives and trends like these eventually make a huge effect. It’s just a matter of time before these efforts coalesce to positively change the educational future for Latinos.

But let’s also remember that while tipping points can be “contagious,” they don’t depend on the masses. Frequently, tipping points are a result of just a small number people and organizations.

It could be you. Change happens when ordinary people demonstrate extraordinary behavior.

Gracias LATISM!

The 2011 LATISM Annual Conference (#LATISM11) in Chicago is history.

Those of us who attend conferences know they can be uninspiring, exhausting, and frankly, sometimes pointless. The 2011 LATISM Annual Conference was none of these.

It’s hopeless trying to capture three days of amazing passion, inspiration, and energy in a single blog post. It simply wouldn’t do the event justice.

What I would share with you is this: if you’re a business, educational institution, non-profit organization, entrepreneur, or activist, and you’ve not engaged the #LATISM community, you’re overlooking an invaluable social media resource.

I encourage you to become acquainted with those who, on a daily basis, blog, write, and share information impacting Latinos in our society. In most cases, they receive no reward, fanfare, or recognition.

Sure, some are trying to grow a business, but it’s not what they’re about.

Individually, these extraordinary people are the foot soldiers who witness and capture the Latino experience in order to stimulate discussion and change the way others might perceive our community. Collectively, they’re the voice of future.

Thank you LATISM.

Gracias a mi familia.

Infographic by Latino Branding Power

Beyond the “@” – LATISM 2011

Starting tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be attending the Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) Conference in Chicago. I’ll be sharing tweets, pictures, and (hopefully) some videos from the event in the coming days so please follow us via #LATISM11

Over the last two years, I’ve had the pleasure of building relationships with literally hundreds of Latinos via social media. I value and appreciate every tweet, like, and connection; however, there’s nothing like meeting these remarkable people in person. There’s nothing like witnessing how their online profile matches who they are in real persona: confident, proud, and smart.

Those of us involved in the social media sphere, especially those associated with #LATISM, #HISPZ, and other Latino twitter hashtags, find it easy to continue these virtual relationships face-to-face. Why? I think it comes down to passion.

We come together to share perspectives, ideas, interests, and expectations. We reveal our desires, experiences, and skills – our willingness to do good work in support of our community.  In short, we come together to share and celebrate what it means to be a Latino.

See everyone soon!