News  Latino Advisory Commission Announces First Set of Priorities and Recommendations

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Governor Baker with Latino Advisory Commission.

BOSTONToday, Governor Charlie Baker and the Latino Advisory Commission announced the Commission’s first set of priorities and recommendations. Last year, Governor Baker signed Executive Order 577 establishing the Latino Advisory Commission to advise on issues relating to the economic prosperity and well-being of the Commonwealth’s Latino community.

“We are pleased the Latino Advisory Commission will focus on educational performance, advancing economic opportunity in the Commonwealth’s workforce, and ensuring Massachusetts remains a welcoming place for all communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is thankful for the Commission members’ hard work and dedication and we look forward to working together on advancing the Massachusetts Latino community.”

“Our administration is committed to supporting and promoting the strengths of the Latino community across each of the communities in the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I look forward to working with the Commission to implement their recommendations to support the entire Latino community.”

The Black Advisory Commission and the Latino Advisory Commission collaborated on a number of components of their efforts in 2017--2018. In partnership, the chairs of both Commissions held various meetings to develop similar paths and methodologies to their processes that determined priorities, recommendations and implementation strategies. They convened a statewide process to assess the paramount challenges and opportunities of both communities in Massachusetts including four joint roundtables with industry experts  and meeting with community leaders across the Commonwealth. 

“Latinos are the fastest growing portion of our labor force and are an essential component to the Commonwealth’s future economic prosperity,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta. “The recommendations of the Latino Advisory Commission will further align our workforce and educational priorities to help Latinos with the skills and training resources they need to access high demand jobs in our innovation economy.”

“The central tenet in the Baker-Polito Administration’s economic policy is creating ‘opportunities for all’ so that everyone in Massachusetts can participate and share in economic success,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash.“Through our work with the Latino Advisory Commission, we have enhanced and refined workforce and small business initiatives to increase access and support, and I am pleased that we’ll be adding funding for both – including the formation of a new apprenticeship tax credit -- through the economic development legislation Governor Baker signed in August.”

“This Commission recommends that the state ensure alternative English Language Learner programs under the LOOK Act are research-based, with well-trained teachers, both of which the Baker-Polito Administration is working toward with new investments in the FY’19 budget targeted to help implement the legislation that provides school districts more flexibility in how they teach students who are English language learners,” Secretary of Education James Peyser said.

The Black and Latino Commissions acknowledged a number of synergies on issues, challenges, and prominent priorities within the Latino and Black communities across the Commonwealth.  Similarly, the solutions to address many of the challenges are similar or can be addressed together, while also differentiating in important ways.

“The Latino Advisory Commission is an example of leadership in action, I salute Governor Baker’s willingness to better understand the needs of the Latino Community,” said Representative Carlos Gonzalez. “The Latino Advisory commission is composed of some of Massachusetts best and brightest minds who happened to be Latino, I commend the members for their work which will have a short and longstanding impact in our communities because of the Governors commitment and financial contribution to attaining the measurable outcomes.”

“As the Chairman of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, I’ve been encouraged by the commitment shown by the Baker Administration in putting together reports and recommendations from both the Black and Latino Advisory Commissions,” said Representative Frank Moran. “These reports were carefully constructed with large amounts of community feedback by talented members appointed by the Governor to each Commission. The recommendations put forth on everything from economic development, to education to state recruitment and hiring practices will help us make decisions to boost fairness and equality across the Commonwealth for communities of color.”

“I am so proud of the work that the Latino Advisory Commission has accomplished over the past year. With the unwavering support of the Governor and Lt. Governor, the guidance and resources provided by the Secretariats, and the invaluable insight from many Latino residents around the state, industry leaders and elected officials, LAC has produced a set of recommendations and priorities that we believe will be instrumental in addressing many of the issues and concerns of the Latino community in Massachusetts,” said Latino Advisory Commission Chair Josie Martinez. “The Latino population is a critical to the success, prosperity and competitiveness of the Commonwealth, and we are all committed to insuring that there are more opportunities for Latino students, businesses and immigrant families.”

This first set of priorities and recommendations relate to the advancement of educational pathways for Latino students, workforce development and continuing to make Massachusetts welcoming for immigrants.

Priority: Improve the educational performance and pathways for success for Latino studentsThe Commission recommends strengthening foundational academic skills in K-12, including English Language Learners (ELL) programs and developing college and career pathways for high school students.

  • The state can work to ensure alternative English Language Learners programs under the LOOK Act are research based, with well-prepared teachers.
  • Following examples such as the Lynch Leadership Academy, Building Excellent Schools and Latinos for Education, we can expand proven programs for developing diverse school leaders and develop regional systems for proactively recruiting, training, and retaining teachers of color. 
  • To focus on improving early literacy curriculum and instruction in low-income communities, examples to follow include the Pre-School Expansion Grant program and Early Literacy Expert Panel.
  • The Springfield Empowerment Zone partnership and the Lawrence Alliance for Education are examples of ways to create opportunities to empower educators to better match programs and school cultures to their students’ needs and assets, while deepening out-of-school time partnerships with community-based youth development organizations.
  • The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to increasing access in high school to college-level courses through the Early College program. Currently there are approximately 2,400 Massachusetts students in an early college program, 55% of whom are low-income. To build upon this success, partnering with non-profit organizations like Mass Insight and Equal Opportunity Schools could create more opportunities for proactive recruitment of under-represented populations and additional supports to improve outcomes. 
  • Building on best practices from examples such as 100 Males to College, Posse Foundation, Bottom Line and One Goal, we can expand investments into cohort-based college readiness and success programs for first-generation students.
  • Expanding upon the Administration’s commitment to workforce development and vocational technical programs through programs like the Workforce Skills grants, we can strengthen career planning and coaching in urban middle and high schools and expand career pathways and vocational-technical programs in urban high schools, including academic supports, integrated with job readiness and work-based learning experiences.

Priority: Advance the competitiveness of the Latino workforce and businesses: The Commission recommends targeting workforce development programs to prepare more Latinos for successful employment, enhancing ways for Latinos to competitively pursue and advance in senior level and leadership roles across all sectors, and increasing the competitiveness of Latino owned businesses by growing access to capital, capacity building and supplier diversity opportunities.

  • Working across secretariats with Housing and Economic Development, Labor and Workforce Development and Education, internship programs among quasi-public agencies, for instance, the Mass Clean Energy Center, can be developed to help increase diversity across sectors.  
  • Promoting the Administration’s YouthWorks program to private sector companies would direct qualified youth to more employment opportunities.  
  • Supporting the apprenticeship expansion strategy would focus on pre-apprenticeship programs that feed diverse youth into existing apprenticeship programs and engage more high schools, vocational tech schools, parents and companies to understand the opportunity of apprenticeships in non-traditional fields.
  • By working together with programs such as YearUp and Apprenti, internships and apprenticeships in the STEM industries, targeting opportunity youth and under-represented adult learners can be developed and expanded.
  • Leveraging successful practices from the Learn to Earn pilot would create targeted career pathways, aligned education, training and proactive coaching to develop and expand partnerships with local workforce organizations in low-income communities of color.
  • Continuing to increase the recruitment efforts of competitive Latino candidates from outside state government into leadership roles that become available and pursuing a greater number of Latino candidates for appointments onto state Boards and Commissions will intentionally increase the number of Latinos in leadership and executive positions.
  • Investing in leadership talent development programs such as New Manager Program and the Senior Leader Development program increase the pipeline of Latino employees who are increasingly ready for next-level promotions.
  • Working together with the diverse professional associations and the private sector on innovative ways in which Latino candidates are recruited and selected for top executive and leadership roles will also advance the community across all sectors.
  • Using the Administration’s Open for Business initiative, Latino-owned businesses would benefit from a targeted strategy and approach to increase participating such as utilizing the innovative procurement diversity and inclusion methodology introduced in recent years by Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), pilot programs can be incubated within Open for Business to grow and scale the participation of Latino owned businesses.
  • Since taking office, the Baker-Polito Administration has increased the state’s supplier diversity benchmarks for spending with Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and can work towards continuing to do so.
  • The Supplier Diversity Annual Report that summarizes compliance and audit activities on various components of the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Program, including the supplier diversity commitments by state contractors and vendors can highlight a specific section for Latino-owned businesses. 
  • In order to grow competitiveness, the efforts of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, as well as public private partnerships, to promote and increase resources that enable Latino owned businesses to grow and thrive by building capacity and providing access to capital and technical support though programs such as the Community Development Capital Program, Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program and Massachusetts Small Business Development Centers can be leveraged.
  • Increasing the collaboration between state agencies and business support organizations would increase targeted outreach to ensure that Latino owned businesses are aware of the various business tools and resources that are available for their region or in their business sectors.
  • Creating opportunities for Latino owned businesses to increase their social and business networks, which can then be leveraged to support greater business partnerships could be convened by larger Latino owned business and/or established business resource organizations, such as small business development centers and chambers of commerce in various regions of the state.

Priority: Continue to make Massachusetts welcoming for immigrants: The Commission recommends improving and expanding English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, expediting reciprocity parameters for cross-state and international professional licenses and assisting eligible immigrants in applying for citizenship and offering financial literacy training for immigrant families. 

  • Expanding ESOL capacity and strengthening incentives for adult basic education providers will help to develop career pathways with integrated instruction, including expanded after-hours access to local vocational-technical schools.
  • Promoting the administration’s Workforce Training Fund and Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund use of grants with employers can help to provide ESOL to existing or potential employees as part of workforce professional development best practices.
  • Considering increased resources for accelerated English language programs targeting foreign professionals seeking licensure.
  • Building on initiatives of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development (EOHED), it is possible to review and consider alternative options for professional licensing to meet increasing employer demand for experienced workers.
  • Leveraging the coordination between the state’s Division of Professional Licensure to seek greater alignment can more effectively explore and promote reciprocity parameters and standards.
  • Promoting existing partnerships and collaborations between training providers, higher education institutions and private employers can identify opportunities to increase the volume of cross-state and international reciprocity agreements for licensure or credentialing.
  • Building on strategies that include communication and coordination with national and international accrediting entities can create more robust databases of information related to licensing and standards. 
  • The Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants’ (ORI) network of Citizenship for New Americans Program (CNAP) service providers will identify outreach strategies to engage eligible Latino immigrants for  help applying for citizenship.
  • ORI will work to encourage financial institutions and other subject matter experts to offer linguistically and culturally appropriate financial literacy training to Latino immigrants.

The Commission will further partner with the Baker-Polito Administration as implementation gets underway for this set of priorities and recommendations. It will receive updates on implementation plans and offer feedback and input at future meetings. The Commission is tasked with delivering a report with various recommendations on each of three selected priorities that promote the Latino community’s economic prosperity & well-being every two years and will provide another set of priorities and recommendations in 2019-2020 with focus on other prominent topics that may include health care, housing and public safety.

Members of the Commission include gubernatorial appointees with varying roles in many community, professional and non-profit organizations and represent a group diverse in gender, race, industry, region, age and education. The Commission is tasked with delivering a report with various recommendations on each of three selected priorities that promote the Latino community’s economic prosperity & well-being every two  years.

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