How to Break the “Blue-Collar” Ceiling for Latinos

A story in the Chicago Tribune this week recaps new research showing metro area Latinos have stayed trapped in low-skill, low-wage jobs in a handful of industries over the last decade, even though the overwhelming majority of them are American citizens. Lack of education appears to be the key factor holding them back.

A brief of the report is available here, in Latino Ed Beat’s research section.

DePaul University professor John Koval, who authored the report, told the Tribune, “These kids need to be educated and well-trained because the economy needs them so badly.”

His report notes that increasing Latinos’ access to early education and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will be key steps. Working with parents and communities to change mindsets will be critical.

The Latino Policy Forum, a Chicago-based advocacy group, offers an example of how that change can happen. The forum recently announced the launch of a second year of its Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) program, training that equips Latino parents of children under the age of five with the knowledge and confidence to support their children’s learning and advocate for them as they enter preschool and elementary school. Abriendo Puertas is being offered by 17 nonprofit agencies across metro Chicago and will reach over 500 parents by the end of 2012.

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