How the UnidosUS Workforce Development team helps Latinos make the most of this nation’s economic opportunities

UnidosUS is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. Since our founding in 1968, we have contributed to a stronger America by elevating the voice of Latinos, and defending and advancing our community’s concerns.

We work to ensure Latinos have the ability and opportunity to improve their lives. One of the ways we do this is through our Workforce Development program, which provides people with the education, resources and training that they need to be successful in the job market.

Workforce development

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What is WFD? What does UnidosUS do in this arena?

The UnidosUS Workforce Development program (WFD) seeks to ensure that Latinos can contribute to and share in the nation’s economic opportunities.

Currently, the WFD team provides grant funding, technical assistance, resources, and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning to 23 Affiliates, through four different initiatives. In turn, the Affiliates provide cohort-based vocational training and job readiness services to community members and assists with placing them in good jobs with family-sustaining wages and career pathway opportunities. The four initiatives together serve nearly 2,000 community members, with a goal of at least 70% securing gainful employment.

Workforce development
Source: Latino representation: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Employment Projections program and “The employment situation-April 2018”
Wages: BLS “Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers, Third Quarter 2017”
Occupations: BLS, “Employed people in management, professional and related occupations, 2016”

What resources are available to UnidosUS Affiliates?

UnidosUS provides grant support, publications, training, technical assistance, and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning to Affiliates that run adult education, job readiness, and vocational training programs.

Our publications include:

  • Blended Learning Toolkit: helps Affiliates integrate technology into their programs and take the first steps in establishing blended learning initiatives.
  • Contextualized Bridge Program Toolkit: helps Affiliates create contextualized adult education programs that prepare participants for vocational training in high-wage and high-demand industries.
  • Unidos in Banking Curriculum: industry-recognized curriculum that focuses on job readiness, personal financial and other soft and hard skills needed to launch a career in the financial services sector.

For Affiliates attending the 2018 UnidosUS Conference, the WFD team is hosting one-on-one appointments that are available in 30-minute slots, July 7-10. Please e-mail Leanne Ryder at [email protected] if you are interested in signing up, or if you are interested in receiving more information about the above publications.

What is the direction that the WFD team is headed in? What do future projects look like?

In conversations with employer partners and Affiliates, the UnidosUS WFD team has realized that we need to focus on expanding opportunities for middle-skills jobs, which are jobs that require more education and training than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree. Latinos are overly concentrated in low-skills jobs and under-represented in middle- and higher-skills jobs. Our focus in the next few years will be to expand access to middle-skills jobs.

We plan to create programs utilizing blended learning technologies to cater to the incumbent worker population as well as programs that focus on developing and enhancing digital literacy skills. For the young adults or those that are new to the workforce, we plan to create a job readiness toolkit that will help individuals secure a good entry-level job that can then be leveraged as experience for future career growth.

What work does the team do to support youth and young adults entering the workforce?

Through UnidosUS’s Young Adult Reentry Project, 500 justice-involved youth will gain the education and training that they need to succeed after they leave the system. UnidosUS is partnering with three Affiliates: Youth Policy Institute (YPI) in Los Angeles; ConXión to Community (CTC) in San Jose, California; and the One Stop Career Center of Puerto Rico (OSCC) in San Juan, Puerto Rico for this work. The young adults served will:

  • Become productive, responsible, and law-abiding members of society.
  • Participate in positive opportunities such as education and training.
  • Become gainfully employed.
  • Receive appropriate supportive services such as childcare support, housing, health care, transportation, that will help them successfully complete their training.

To learn more about the work the WFD team does at UnidosUS, please visit the team’s page here.

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