Winning the Future Through the Power of Networking
Published: 12/5/11 a las 7:30AM
According to the latest Census data, more than 50.5 million Latinos (16 percent of the total population) live in the United States. So, it is not surprising that Latinos have become a major part of the American work force at all levels and their purchasing power is in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
According to several studies, Latinos will continue to drive the growth of the labor force, as they will account for 60 percent of the Nation's population growth between 2005 and 2050. Therefore, Latino success in education and in the labor market is of both immediate and long-term importance to America's economy.
Latinos face persistent obstacles in regards to educational attainment, however. Less than half of Latino children are enrolled in any early learning program such as Head Start. Only about half of all Latino students earn their high school diploma on time; and those who do complete high school are only half as likely as their peers to go to college. Overall, just 13 percent of Latinos have a bachelor's degree, and only 4 percent have completed graduate or professional degree programs.
Pursuing a college education is something that is complex for many Latino students and their families. Often times parents do not have a clue how to navigate the American education system. Thus all the responsibility of knowing how to apply for college and pay for college lies on the student. An overwhelming task to say the least. Also, for undocumented students, the lack of legal immigration status is a limiting factor since they cannot legally receive any federally funded student financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs.
Networking can be the key to success, though.
Networking is a valuable skill for Latino students and their families to have to prepare for college as well as make it into college and successfully complete college. By reaching out for help from people well versed in the American education system such as teachers, social workers, and counselors, Latinos gain access to opportunities they might not be aware even existed. Professionals have access to resources such as public and private scholarships (many of which do not request immigration status) and other useful information through their professional and personal networks. In many cases, they are also able to help students fill out college applications and financial aid forms. They can also help students get in touch with college admissions personnel.
Networking is an effective and inexpensive way to gain knowledge and resources by meeting crucial people who could become mentors, guides and support systems. Finding a mentor or a guide can help to engage Latino students and their families as well as build a positive system of support and resources that will allow Latinos to find academic and professional success.
All in all, never underestimate the power of networking!
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