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News & Press: Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message: April 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Dear members and friends,

 

¡Saludos!

 

As we all know, Maryland’s primary elections are approaching quickly and while our Chamber is not affiliated with any party, I want to encourage everyone to vote. Maryland is predicted to become a Minority-Majority state by 2020, but minorities, including Hispanics, continue to underperform when compared to Whites in several areas, including median household income, upward mobility and employment rates. As the Economic Policy Institute puts it, “Unemployment and poverty rates in the U.S. have consistently been higher among people of color, while levels of income and wealth among these groups have trailed the general population.”

 

As minorities become the majority here and in many other states, the problems that plague minorities will become increasingly apparent, pervasive and detrimental to our economy. This is despite some improvements, like Hispanic businesses growing at 15 times the national average and contributing over $661 billion to our national economy last year. Yet presidential candidates seem all too distracted to look at the largest demographic shift in our nation since the baby boom. We will require specific policies that will train and prepare young Latinos for the 21st century economy.  This training must start in middle school and high school, and be reinforced in the college years for some. But the ROI of college must be there, and recent studies show us that that may not necessarily be the case. Consider, for example, the following data from a May 2015 poll conducted by www.aftercollege.com:

 

·      86% of college seniors have no secure steady, career-type jobs lined up.

·      White graduates have secured their first jobs at the highest clip.

·      Only about 25% of students say they were able to transition from their internship into a real job.

·      Only 13% of graduate degree recipients will be starting real jobs after they receive their diplomas.

 

Add to that the fact that in 2015 the average graduate will have to pay $35k back in student loans, and that over half of the graduates are in jobs that 1) did not require a college degree or 2) are not related to their major. The numbers just don’t add up.

 

It is time to look at education with a fresh and strategic eye. We have to tie the demands of 21st century jobs with practical skills that can be gained through well-crafted apprenticeship programs.  The soft business skills can also be acquired through apprenticeships.  College is for some, but as the data shows, college, and high school education to an extent, are not strategically aligned with our economic needs.

 

In the coming months, the MDHCC will be exploring ways in which we could partner with other chambers of commerce to develop practical apprenticeship programs for Hispanics that will result in well-paid careers.

 

 

Onward!

 

 

Jorge Eduardo Castillo

Chairman

Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Chair@mdhcc.org

 

 


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