Tag Archives: Latinos

Who Has the Answers?

Do diversity initiatives work?

Some studies suggest that the effort to diversify the C-suite and boardroom has reached an impasse. Others suggest we’re moving along nicely.  But how long will it take?  Five years? Just another 10 years? Longer?  Two years ago on this blog, I wrote about a quick business article search I conducted on the topic of diversity. At the time, I had gone back  44 years to read what business journals were writing regarding the benefits of a diverse workforce.

About the same time I shared this post about the status of people of color and women on corporate boards.   Despite their increased representation in the workforce, the number of Latino CEO’s and board of directors has remained the same or decreased since I wrote these two posts.

So it really does beg the question – do diversity initiatives work? Perhaps a better question is why do they fail? I don’t know.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen the increased numbers of diversity and inclusion services and experts tout the important work they do. They seem to be doing great for themselves. Yet, the numbers remain the same. Why? Many of their clients have the worst diversity and inclusion numbers out there. Are they part of the problem?

Is it easier (and cheaper) for organizations to invest in window dressing initiatives rather invest the time and resources needed to diversify their leadership? Perhaps change their culture? I don’t have the answers.

One reason might be that many organizations are not as transparent as they should with their data. Another could be the perception that years of diversity talk is just talk – talk without the walk. Or could it be all the research that aims to diversify the workplace can’t even agree on whether mandatory or voluntary diversity strategies are best?

Who knows. I certainly don’t.

But I would also argue that no one else does.

The Tale of Two Reports

I spent a couple of hours today searching for current data on Latino educational attainment and outcomes, specifically in the area of post-secondary education. I was a bit frustrated. Reports were either incomplete or dated.

Finally, I was able to find two good reports, both published this year, which provided detailed analysis. One report was from Department of Education’s (DOE) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) entitled Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2017. This is a comprehensive report outlining the progress and challenges faced by different racial and ethnic groups.   The second report was from the American Council on Education’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS) entitled Pulling Back the Curtain: Enrollment and Outcomes at Minority Serving Institutions. This report was also a comprehensive examination of educational data but focused on minority serving institutions in the United States.

Frankly, I was left a bit disheartened after reviewing the NCES report. Latinos are indeed making strides. For example, Latinos doubled the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded between 2003-04 and 2013-2014. Yet, Latinos still lag well behind other racial and ethnic groups in regards to overall post-secondary attainment. Expecting the same results, I turned my attention to the CPRS report and was pleased, but puzzled, to read this:

The completion rate for exclusively full-time students at public two-year Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) was 40.3 percent using NSC data, compared to the federal graduation rate of 25.5 percent. The NSC total completion rate for public four-year HSIs was approximately 50 percent and 74.1 percent for exclusively full-time students, compared to a federal graduation rate of 42.7 percent.

Why the difference?

As compared to the NCES report, CPRS “aimed to paint a more complete” attainment and outcome picture by using data beyond that collected by the DOEcation. Another key difference between the reports is this:

As the NSC data show, the majority of students at HSIs do not attend college exclusively full time, which is significant since higher education policy is still largely rooted in the notion of a “traditional” student body that among other attributes attends college full time.

In other words, DOE education attainment reports factor in ALL educational institutions, post-secondary in this case. This is no fault of the DOE but does shed light on my initial gloomy reaction. These two reports also underscore the need to present information in a way that reveals a clearer picture of educational attainment by Latinos in the United States.

Like Oil and Water

I can relate to this article in the Washington Post regarding the many cultural differences within the larger Latino community. As a Mexican-American who grew up in Los Angeles, our small neighborhood was represented by several Latino communities: Cubans, Ecuadorians, Guatemaltecos, Salvadorians, Columbians, Puerto Ricans, and other cultures – including Filipinos and Vietnamese!

Those who assume all Latinos eat tacos and dance salsa should realize that most Latinos will identify with their own cultural roots first. While there are many similarities, assuming that all Latinos “are the same” is a mistake, and I see an increasing trend in our cultural self-identification.

The Rigged Admissions Game

“Students from families in the bottom economic quartile comprise only three percent of enrollment in the most competitive schools, while those from the top economic quartile comprise 72 percent” – this reported by a new Jack Kent Cooke Foundation regarding college admissions. This finding more than 10 years after selective institutions made a public commitment to increase the representation of low-income students (aka – “blind admission” strategies). Video provides an overview of key findings – report can be found here.

Latinos and Women Still Earn Less

Latinos, women, and other people of color still earn less than white men, even with similar education levels.

chart

Among workers age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, median weekly earnings in 2014 were $1,385 for men and $1,049 for women. Black or African American workers with at least a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $970 in 2014, compared with $1,219 for White workers with the same level of education. Asians with at least a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,328. The median for Hispanic or Latino workers with that level of education was $1,007 per week.