Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Leaky Pipeline

I’ve noted many times via this blog that Latinos, women, and other minorities use community colleges as a pathway to four-year institutions.  Unfortunately, this report by the American Association of Community Colleges indicates the pipeline is still very “leaky:”

More than half of U.S. Hispanic and Native American undergraduate students are enrolled in community colleges, and so are more than 40% of Black students and students of Asian and Pacific Islander origin.21 Yet completion rates for students of color in some groups—often those students facing the greatest challenges—are disappointing in the extreme: For example, one analysis indicates that 6 years after college entry, only 30% of low-income community college students, 26% of Black students, and 26% of Hispanic students have completed either a degree or a certificate, compared with 39% and 36% of White and high-income students, respectively. These blights threaten the American future and must be addressed.

The report provides suggestions for a new framework but it doesn’t seem ambitious enough to reverse the trend.

An Unsure Future

Check out this Economic Policy Institute Briefing on the economic challenges faced by workers at the bottom of the wage scale. The briefing provides the racial/ethnic composition and education levels of the low-wage workforce including what occupations have the highest and lowest shares of low-wage workers. According to the report, female, young, and minority workers are overrepresented in the ranks of low-wage workers. In regards to Latinos:

Likewise, Hispanics made up 15.3 percent of the workforce in 2011but constituted 23.6 percent of poverty-wage workers.

What’s the Problem?

Why are college grads not finding jobs?

About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.

Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.

Take a few minutes to read through the comments via this article. The opinions range from rising college tuition costs to students that major in Liberal Arts. There’s obviously no clear reason but we’re again reminded that the United States’ economy and workforce is in transition.

So Much More to Learn

Mariela Dabbah makes the point that many colleges and universities still don’t know how to increase Latino representation and graduation rates on their campuses. Many organizations, frankly, are clueless.  Mariela explains:

The roundabout answers my question received from the four panelists – all Human Resource and Diversity leaders at top private universities – propelled a woman in the audience to insist that the panel circle back to my question after the conversation had moved in a different direction.


Judging from the panel’s reaction, it was obvious that they actually didn’t have an answer. Unfortunately, what also became apparent is part of the reason why so little has changed in the last few decades in terms of inclusion and retention of diverse students in higher education.

While Mariela argues that universities can learn lessons from some corporations on this issue, I think the examples of organizations that have solid track records in this regard are still lacking as well.

The Price of Women’s Inequality

After decades of arguing they’re vital to the U.S. workforce, women remain wedged in the lower ranks of organizations. According to this study by the Center for American Progress, they’ve seen very little movement. For Latinas, it’s even lower:

$518—the median weekly earnings for Latinas compared to white women ($703), black women ($595), and Asian women ($751).

It’s one of the many reasons Latinas leave corporate America and are six times more likely than the national average to start a new business.

As a country, we all pay a steep price for this continued trend – or rather – reality. It’s a price that we cannot afford to pay for much longer.


Three Generations — or More?

Agree with David Morse at AdAge Blogs regarding variation in Latino identity over time. While different in many respects, there are cultural factors that bind Latinos together:

Central to that culture is a belief in hard work, the valuation of the Spanish language and at the top of the list, love of family. The art of developing targeted messages for Hispanics will evolve as the demographics of the population change. But it will take a lot more than three generations for marketing communications evoking these traditional Hispanic cultural pillars to lose their power.

Key point here is developing the key strategies – a moving target really since generational differences are not the same across Latino culture. Interesting stuff.

Reality Check: Boards & Portals Losing Ground

Interesting graphic via Sirona Consulting about where job seekers are getting their career information. First choice (company site) is obvious but social media platforms have been gaining ground the last two years. And by the way – I agree  it’s more than a Facebook page or tweeting out jobs. Organizations need to have a strategic social media program in place for this to work because it’s the future – within and outside of the organization.

Are you listening?