Connecting with Latinos: Education and the Future of the US workforce

Latino community:

  • Fastest growing minority group in the United States
  • Fastest growing component of America’s workforce.

What does this mean in terms of education now and in the future?

 

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The low educational attainment among Hispanics is one of the biggest challenges for the future of the American labor force. Culturally, education is a strong Latino value. However, the lack of information makes it a challenge for this community to find the ways to finance their higher education. Back in 2011, Grupo Parada had the opportunity to work with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation who offered a generous fellowship program ($30,000 grant for winning applicants) and yet struggled to attract the Latino student population to apply; only 5 Latino students had applied within a 2 year time frame. When service providers are available and there is a high demand from consumers, the content strategy must be transformed to establish a clear connection between the program and Latino students.

The message that the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship was sending was based on an assumed value that the amount of the scholarship was the most important part of the program to the Latino community. However, in the eyes of the Latino student to whom the message was intended, the values of personal achievement, family and pride was more relevant into taking the initiative to apply. Knowing the values of the target market is only the beginning of actually understanding the consumer. Any marketing campaign must first identify the way the consumer searches, and determine the way the message relates to these values; that’s where market research comes in.

The biggest lesson from this case study is that a message targeted to Latinos must be culturally relevant and crafted in a way that its context reflects the community’s values. There needs to be a transformation in the interaction between institutions, companies, and Latinos in order to create the right connection. This can only be accomplished by basing communication in: research, relevant content, and proper distribution of that content. Content strategy for education institutions must go beyond what the consumer says, and become more about knowing the consumer’s behavior in their quest for higher education.

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