Latinos and the Homework Gap (part 2)

with Rosa Mendoza of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership

National Education

Lack of internet access at home can heavily affect a student’s academic success in the classroom, and a teacher’s ability to work technology into their teaching. Computer ownership presents issues as well. Only seventy-two percent of Latinos have a laptop or desktop computer at home, compared with eighty-three percent of whites.

Rosa Mendoza of Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership joins Robert Traynham for a discussion about closing the digital divide and reducing the homework gap.  Click here for part 1 of Latinos and the Homework Gap.

Interview recorded Sept 6, 2017.  Hosted by Robert Traynham.  Part 2 of 2.

Read a partial transcript of this interview below:

Traynham: Rosa, the last topic that I want to chat with you about is Silicon Valley, or the Valley, as it´s called. Quite frankly, a lot of folks in Silicon Valley, they recognize that the country is changing. They recognize that the demographics are shifting to more people like you and I. But they´re saying, look, we get this, we understand this, these are our clients and so forth, and customers. But we can´t find qualified engineers and people in STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — to do the jobs. The flip side of that is, is a lot of folks in the community are saying, you´re not knocking on my door, I´m qualified, and I´ll move out to Silicon Valley in a heartbeat, but no one´s returning my phone calls. Is the truth, Rosa, somewhere in the middle here?

Mendoza: It is, and actually, the truth is that there are plenty of qualified Latinos for these jobs. Silicon Valley companies need to come to our community, they need to recruit in our area and our communities and our schools, and they will find talented Latinos. One of the things that we´re doing with my organization, HTTP, is that we partnered with one of our member organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC, and we organized a summit in Silicon Valley. The purpose of this summit is for us to provide a space so that we can find ways and strategize ways in which we can make Silicon Valley more diverse. So we invited these Silicon companies, and said, “Come over, come over to our summit, come over to this gathering.”

Traynham: Did they show up?

Mendoza: They did, some of them showed up, and it´s very, very important, because then we said, you want talent, here it is. We have plenty of talent in our community. Hire these individuals, give them an opportunity, even if it´s an internship. So it´s very important that we do this because again, the whole thing, we can´t find talented minorities, is absolutely an excuse.

Traynham: Rosa, it sounds like you and your organization are serving as facilitators, if you will, between the technology companies in the workforce. Another big criticism that I hear quite frankly is that there aren´t enough brown people in the C suite. The C suite individuals will say, we can´t find them, either. This is not about Science and Engineering. This is about — just about diversified degrees as a whole. My retort back is, well, are they in the pipeline? And the reason why I´m bringing this up is you mentioned internships. Everyone starts off as an intern, and then you just slowly work yourself up the ladder. Are you working on that, as well?

Mendoza: Absolutely. That´s part of what we do in this conference.

Traynham: Okay.

Mendoza: We bring students, and we help them with their résumé. We talk to them about the importance of getting an internship because that´s how you build a pipeline, right? And again, it´s an excuse. There are plenty of talented Latinos, and that´s one of the many things that we try to teach students is, you don´t have to be an engineer to go into the tech field, in the tech industry, in the STEM field, you don´t have to. You can be a lawyer, you can be in HR, I mean, you can be in management.

Traynham: Communications, absolutely.

Mendoza: There are so many things that they can do, but sometimes, they don´t know this. It´s important that we tell them and give them the information that they need, but it´s also important that the companies come and say, this is what you can do in the company, these are the opportunities for you as an intern. These are the opportunities for you as a student, as a young professional, as a graduate, as an established professional, you name it.

Traynham: You know, it´s interesting because this last point is that, many people do not realize that working for a technology company, they still need an HR office, they still need a business office, they still need a marketing office. I mean, there´s all these other offices outside of their core business that they have to maintain. So, Rosa Mendoza, thank you very much for all that you do. I really look forward to having you back on the program to get a status check.

Mendoza: Thank you for having me.

Traynham: And thank you for joining us as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I´m Robert Traynham.