with Ignacio Salazar of SER, Jobs for Progress National
Posted Sep 15, 2017
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Living paycheck to paycheck is a reality many Americans face today, as income does not always keep up with cost of living increases. A 2015 Pew Research Center report states that close to half of those polled in the Latino community struggle with this issue.
Ignacio Salazar, President and C.E.O. of SER, Jobs for Progress National, discusses programs aimed at better equipping Latinos with the necessary skills to thrive in today's job market. Click here for part 1 of Latino Workforce Development.
Interview recorded Sept 6, 2017.
Traynham: You touched on something I want to expand on, that's community colleges, and as I understand it, more and more community colleges are really expanding at the seams in terms of the population wanting to go back to school. My question is, do you think that community colleges are actually equipping folks for the current workforce?
Salazar: They're working in conjunction with industry in many local areas because they're in the communities.
Traynham: I see.
Salazar: And so there is a good connection. We find that, as we work throughout the country, we're working with many community college districts to provide those kinds of skills and abilities there in conjunction with what we do. We might do the preparatory work, getting them ready to go to the community college, and there, they're getting the skills that they need. So there's a good connection within the community college and the industry in local communities.
Traynham: I see.
Salazar: And so that?s been a bridge.
Traynham: So they're really working hand-in-glove to fit the need and make sure that they're teaching the right applicable skills to the workforce.
Traynham: I see. I want to move now to diversity.
Traynham: There are a lot of folks out there that are still saying, look, we get the fact that this country is changing. The demographics, obviously, speak for themselves.
Traynham: But we don't see those type of demographic shifts in the management of organizations, in the upper management of organizations. Are you working on that problem? Assuming that it is a problem.
Salazar: It is a problem. It is a problem, and we find that it's pervasive across the board. You look at every industry and minorities, why they make up 30% of the population are usually 2% to 3% of management within, you know, corporations, within institutional higher education. You can go across the board in any industry, and that?s the case. And so we've got to prepare our individuals in different disciplines, as well. And recognize that the economy is changing. Today, STEM and STEAM is much more prevalent, and so we've got to prepare them to go into those kinds of industries and prepare them with the skills where they can ascend within those corporations.
Traynham: You mentioned a few moments ago that you have been in this business for quite some time, meaning your organization. How old are you, and what specifically is your mission?
Salazar: Well, we're 53 years young because we began back in the 60s when there was a war on poverty. And our mission is to equip individuals, the skills and abilities that make a difference in their quality of life. Prepare them for work situations and prepare them for life situations and provide industry with trained and capable individuals that make a difference in their bottom line
Traynham: And for the folks that are watching perhaps at home or maybe on their smart device, if they would like to receive more information about your organization, where can they go?
Salazar: They can go to ser-national.org.
Traynham: All right, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
Salazar: Thank you.
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.