Posts tagged ‘Hispanic interns’

Characteristics of Hispanic Millennial interns

by Miguel Corona

One of the most talked and written about generation of Americans are Millennials. While there is some debate on dates, Millennials include people born roughly between 1982 and 2002. While the term “Millennial” is most associated in describing this generation, some have used other descriptors such as “Generation Next,” “Boomer Babies,” “Net Gen,” and other terms. Without a doubt, this generation has gained attention in areas such as education, business, and the workplace. Chances are good your organization currently has or will soon employ an intern from this generation. And like other generations, Millennials are symbolized by their own set of characteristics. Given the diversity of this generation, more attention is being placed on the impact culture might have on how Millennials are characterized. This is particularly true of Hispanic Millennials.

According to the U.S. Census, close to 20% of all Millennials in the United States are Hispanic. This statistic emphasizes the young age of the Hispanic population and the diversity of all Millennials. Hispanic Millennials share many of the same characteristics of mainstream Millennials. Some of these characteristics also closely parallel Hispanic cultural traits: conventional (respectful, not questioning authority); confident (goal-oriented, and confident in themselves); sheltered (highly protected as children); team oriented (team-oriented rather than individualistic); and technically inclined (grew up being familiar with technology). Hispanic Millennials, however, hold a deep respect for their culture’s values, customs, and beliefs. While much attention has already been given to Hispanic Millennials in a marketing and social media context; there is a growing interest about the characteristics of Hispanic Millennials in the workplace.

Results from a recent study share some of these characteristics. What do Hispanic Millennials value most in the workplace? Three factors are most valued by Hispanic Millennials in the workplace: promotion opportunities, supervisors, and co-workers. According to the study, Hispanic Millennials place a much higher value on promotional opportunities than the general Millennial population. Additionally, Hispanic Millennials perceive a higher sense of support from organizations in a work setting. Finally, when compared to previous Hispanic generations, Hispanic Millennials perceive a lower sense of discrimination in the workplace.    

What these results show is that Hispanic Millennials are a generation that expects to be provided with organizational opportunities. They very much want to develop and benefit from their hard work. To increase the likelihood that Hispanic Millennial interns flourish, assure that you’re organization is providing them with a solid developmental program that includes exposure to more experienced managers or leaders (mentors). Verify their work assignments are challenging and communicate how their work efforts are adding value to the organization as a whole. Finally, make sure to leverage their partiality toward working in teams, and minimize projects that have them working alone.  

Related Study: “Ready or Not: Hispanic Millennials Are Here,” The Business Journal of Hispanic Research, 2008, Vol. 2, No. 1, 50-60.

March 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Taking the non-traditional path

by Miguel Corona

Traditionally, employers are aware that college students follow a certain road on their way to graduation. The path college students take from school to career can even be described as a “pipeline.” Generally, most students enter college; spend a couple of years adjusting to the campus environment; spend a summer or two working or traveling; and finally graduate and enter the workforce. In most cases, the journey through this pipeline takes somewhere between four to six years. When I think back to my college educational experience, as well as the experiences of the Hispanic college students I’ve talked to over the last fifteen years, the educational pipeline is much different. For me and other Hispanic college students, using the pipeline metaphor might not capture our experiences as accurately as it should. Let me explain by using my journey as an example.

To start, I worked full-time almost five years before setting foot on a college campus. Part of the reason for working full-time was to contribute to the family household, buy a car, and save money in order to go to college. Once enrolled as a full-time college student, I either worked on-campus as a student employee or off-campus to earn extra money to pay for college expenses that my financial aid didn’t cover. And while I did take advantage of school breaks, most of my summers were spent going to school and working in order to graduate within four years (I actually did it in 3 ½). My experience as an undergraduate was not any different than many Hispanic college students today. And while I was fortunate to not have to interrupt my education, many Hispanic college students must do this in order to address many of the same financial factors I described earlier.   

So rather than illustrating the Hispanic college student experience as a pipeline, I think it resembles a pattern of on-ramps and off-ramps; school, work and back to school. It’s an important difference for employers to understand, especially if it doesn’t fit the usual college pipeline characteristics. For example, a non-traditional student pattern can extend time-to-graduation timelines or limit involvement in campus activities. On the other hand, what this unique experience does provide you as an employer are highly responsible, committed, and driven interns. It takes a lot of determination and focus to get through this process. The confidence, maturity, and other work skills Hispanic college students obtain resulting from this non-traditional experience should be leveraged and utilized to benefit your organization.

March 18, 2010 at 7:28 pm Leave a comment

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This blog is dedicated to employers with a focus on how to hire and manage interns effectively. We will have a variety of experts who will share helpful ideas, tips and more. We invite you to comment, ask questions and share your experiences. You are also welcome to submit written contributions to this blog.

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