By Manny Espinoza (CEO, ALPFA)
Like many organizations across the U.S. that work with young Latino students and professionals, we felt like the Obama Administration opened the doors to work with ALL young Latino students and young professionals when it announced that it will end deportations for undocumented immigrants that were brought to the U.S. as adolescents.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the decision could potentially benefit 1.4 million children and young adults in the U.S. At ALPFA, we’re in the business of helping young Latinos realize their dreams. Dreams of becoming an entrepreneur or CEO of a company.
Dreams for success in business are ever-increasing. In 2008, the first year of the economic downturn, ALPFA had 8,700 members. Only four years later, we have grown grew to become the country’s largest professional organization with over 19,000 members of which more than 50% are students. In addition, 100 of our 140 chapters are at college universities as diverse as Cornell, Texas A&M to Yale. Mind you, these chapters are student-led by young Latino leaders taking control of their lives to maximize their resources.
Our dramatic growth in membership shows it is all about the economy — young, educated Latinos are looking for jobs and professional development that enhances their marketability to get better jobs.
There has also never been a greater economic need than now to build future Latino business leaders. The dramatic population findings from the 2010 Census clearly indicate that the future workforce of the next two decades is being developed today. Hispanic youth will make up the largest talent pool available to Corporate America as there are 17.1 million U.S. Latinos ages 17 and under. With our ongoing professional development opportunities, scholarships, job fairs and annual convention, ALPFA is committed to address the needs of this new generation.
The new immigration policy is not a fix-all. But it is a step in the right direction in helping to usher in new Latino leaders and connect them to opportunities in the workforce so we all benefit.