Latinos Leaving the Nest

Orlando Rodriguez revisits a topic that I’m very familiar with – both personally and professionally – the impact of family ties on Latino success. When I worked at the University of Texas at El Paso Career Center back in the mid-1990s, one of the biggest challenges we faced (and feedback we often received from employers) was the reluctance of our students to leave El Paso for job or even an internship. Since over 70+ percent of our students were Latinos, family proximity was a significant factor in student career decisions. I still remember one student whose mother spent the Summer with her during an internship in Dallas.

Over the years, I’ve noted somewhat of a reversal in this trend, particularly in 2nd and 3rd generation Latinos. While the strong family ties exist, many students are more willing to expand their experiences by leaving home taking positions well outside the reach of their family. 

Many years ago, I faced the same decision. Having grown up in Southern California, leaving to attend college out of state was a significant event in my life. While I craved the independence of college life, I was well aware of the potential consequences of not having the always present family support. The first few months were horrible. However, over the next months and then years, I grew exponentially as a person and a professional.  Were family ties a hinderance? In my case, I would say not.

You can check out the original report by PEW that Orlando references here.