Tomás D. Morales, President California State University, San Bernardino share perspectives on Latino business and students
On June 8, 2015 I had the opportunity to interview a friend who I first met while I myself was in college when he served as the Educational Opportunity Program Director, a program that helped me get through college. He now is President of California State University, San Bernardino and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
As the leader of the second largest public school in California, 16th largest in the country I believe he has something to say to help Latino business leaders understand that they can play a role in equipping their future work force as early as they want to get into the game. Even as parents, business leaders can take a cue from Dr. Morales.
College enrollment rates vary considerably with parents’ educational attainment. 70% of the students in his school had parents that never went to college and based on research around the country that matters a great deal. Here are some of the questions I posed to Dr. Morales that perhaps can get you thinking on how your business can play a part in helping Latino students succeed.
What do you see as the greatest challenges facing Hispanic students getting in and staying in colleges & universities?
From my experience the biggest hurdles for Latino K-12 students is graduating from H.S. More importantly, graduating from high school career and college ready. While every state has different polices and Common Core has had some controversy, it does create a standard that helps develop a baseline for all high school students across the country. Having said that, pre-school is critically important as is middle school.
In 3rd grade kids learn to read by 6th grade they should have some math proficiency. Transition from middle school to high school is vital and I think this is a great way to get Latino businesses involved. Sponsoring or even creating an academy that works alongside school districts to help students with that transition would be helpful.
How do you think Hispanic-owned businesses can help? Do you have any examples?
Business can help with the various pathways.
Some of my suggestions would be:
1. Internship Programs: Find a way to provide internship opportunities for students who are interested in particular fields
2. Mentorship: Start or participate in mentorship programs involving their business leaders and their employees.
3. Financial: Put your money where your heart is. If you care about Latino students and their college success, consider helping them out directly through scholarships. Parents nowadays just can’t afford to pay an entire tuition bill for four years of college.
4. Start or Support: Find organizations like PIQE Parent Institute for Quality Education in Calfornia or Alignment Nashville which connect businesses to young people or parents help parents understand the needs of their children.
5. Begin a Business Philanthropic council – gather local businesses small and large and commit to giving back to the Latino community by raising funds that will go back to the future of this country and their businesses… Latino students.
Next- the role of HCAU