Celebrating Hispanic Culture and Heritage

Hispanic Culture and Heritage
Hispanic Heritage month

Since 1968, the U.S. has celebrated the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino American citizens. This includes citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Hispanic Heritage Month began as a commemorative week. California Congressman George E. Brown introduced Hispanic Heritage Week as a result of a growing push to recognize the contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community. Congress authorized the law on September 17th, 1968. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation that same day:

“Several of our States and many of our cities proudly bear Hispanic names and continue Hispanic traditions that enrich our national life. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has given an example to the world by lifting the per capita income of its inhabitants through “Operation Bootstrap” from $256 to $1,047 in 10 years.

The people of Hispanic descent are the heirs of missionaries, captains, soldiers, and farmers who were motivated by a young spirit of adventure, and a desire to settle freely in a free land. This heritage is ours.”

September 15th was chosen as the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Week with the intention of recognizing the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, who declared independence from Spain on September 15th, 1821.

Hispanic Heritage Month as we know it today was signed into law on August 17th, 1988. The idea for extending the commemoration was first brought to the table by U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California, in 1987. Torres wanted more time to “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement”. The bill itself was proposed by Illinois Senator Paul Simon in 1988, and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. On September 14th, 1989, President George W. Bush was the first president to declare September 15th to October 15th as Hispanic Heritage Month. His declaration stated the following:

“The rich ethnic heritage of Hispanic Americans gives us cause to celebrate because it is a proud and colorful portion of our Nation’s heritage. Hispanic Americans have reaffirmed our belief in the principles of liberty and democratic government, and they have helped to share that vision with our neighbors in Central and South America and the Caribbean. This month, as we recognize the many achievements of Hispanic Americans, we also recall the universal appeal of the American ideal of freedom and opportunity for all.”

The contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community in the United States are interwoven into the heritage of our country. Here at the Atlanta MBDA Business Center, we are dedicated to celebrating and supporting Hispanic and Latino owned businesses. Hispanic-owned companies represent 14% of total U.S. businesses. From 2012-2018, Hispanic businesses grew at double the rate of other U.S. businesses – 40.2% growth compared to 18.8% growth. Latino small business owners are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States, growing 34% over the last ten years. The Georgia MBDA Business Center has the resources and experience to support Hispanic and Latino business owners in this era of growth and success.

Ready to Hire Student Interns? Get Started Here!

Last week, we highlighted the benefits of creating a student worker program for your company and discussed the differences between an internship and a co-op. This week, we’ll be sharing our four key questions to keep in mind when establishing a student worker program and the specific ways that your company can recruit at Georgia Tech.

1. What do you Hope to Gain from this Experience?

As you continue to think about establishing an internship/co-op program, you should first be identifying what needs will the student fulfill. How you design your internship will center on this idea. If you’re looking to hire a student worker for an individual project set to be completed by the end of the internship, your program will look different from a company who hires students on a rotating basis for work on a continuous project.

Also, consider that student workers are excellent for completing internal operational projects which your team might be too busy to get to. When creating an internship or co-op program, brainstorm ways to maximize your team’s productivity by hiring a student for internal tasks.

2. Who will be Overseeing the Student?

Anytime a new employee is hired, there is an onboarding process. Consider how you will onboard your new student worker, especially since they are still full-time students and their industry experience may be limited. Hiring a student worker could be an opportunity for one of your employees to take ownership over a new project. Overseeing an intern can be as easy as a small orientation with a check-in meeting once a week.

When evaluating the program that you are developing, consider whether the student will report to a project manager, a specified employee who manages the interns/co-ops, or to yourself. All options have their unique values, and only you can evaluate your work environment and find the best fit.

3. How will you Improve for Next Year?

Offering internships and co-ops is an amazing opportunity to help promote your company’s image, contribute to the community, and actively recruit new talent. You should regularly evaluate your program’s structure and success and seek new avenues for growth and improvement. By continuing to provide unique and beneficial experiences for student workers, you will see the capabilities of increased proficiency from your program as well as stronger recruitment and retention.

Always consider how you will define a successful internship or co-op project. Is it just that the project was completed on time, or will there be other metrics such as educational opportunities, mentorship roles, or return as full-time employees?

4. Where do you get Started?

As clients of the Atlanta MBDA Business and Advanced Manufacturing Centers, you’ve already taken the first step in creating a relationship with one of the top academic and research institutions in the country, Georgia Tech. To begin recruiting for an intern or co-op program, be sure to take advantage of the many resources offered by the Georgia Tech Career Center.

The Georgia Tech Career Center not only offers a fully equipped team that helps students find internship, co-ops, and full-time positions, but they also have a dedicated employer relations team that assists employers in effectively recruiting Georgia Tech students. The employer relations team can provide extra information on ways to get involved with on-campus career fairs, employer town halls, and the Georgia Tech exclusive online career portal.

The Georgia Tech Career Center also provides a number of resources for employers to use when getting connected, including an employer recruitment guide, a frequently asked questions page, information sessions, and more.

The Georgia Tech Career Center is rich in resources for business owners looking to establish and recruit for a student worker program. Make sure to visit the resources listed in this article and continue to read our blog for more specific information on engaging with Georgia Tech.

Are You Using These Best Recruiting Practices?

Over are the days where interns act as personal assistants, fetching coffee for the office and filing paperwork. Internship programs today have evolved into comprehensive programs that employers can utilize to recruit talented college students, create a positive atmosphere of mentorship within their workplace, and complete technical projects for a fraction of the costs. Today marks part one of our series on the best practices for recruiting students and the opportunities provided by Georgia Tech for employers to engage with.

What are Student Workers?

Unlike their portrayal in TV shows and movies, student workers today can be assigned complicated and in-depth office tasks equivalent to entry level employees. College students are eager to gain real-world work experience while still pursuing their undergraduate degrees, and most students will even push back their graduation date if it means strengthening their resume to increase their odds of receiving a full-time offer post-graduation. The two most popular ways to hire student workers today are to create either an internship or a co-op program. These programs can be as involved or basic as you want to make them, but it’s no secret that establishing an intern or co-op program opens the door to endless benefits for both student and employer.

Internship vs. Co-op Programs

When looking to hire student workers, companies should first analyze their needs and capacity when deciding what program would best fit their environment. While internship and co-op programs both involve student workers, they pose unique opportunities that can be customized per a company’s unique needs.

Internships are a single semester opportunity for students to be employed in order to gather tangible work experience. A usual internship will range from either 6-8 weeks and can either be paid or unpaid. Internships are also unique in that they can be offered as either part-time or full-time.  Employers can use internships in a number of ways. Perhaps you’ve been looking to revitalize your website, but your entire staff is bogged down with work for the foreseeable future. You could hire a summer intern majoring in computer science or web design whose focus would be to create a unique web experience for your customers. Another example of a potential internship would be hiring a new marketing or content production intern each semester to manage your weekly newsletters, blogs, and social media.

Whereas internship programs are offered over a single semester as either paid or unpaid positions, co-op programs are a three-semester agreement between students and employers. Students are hired as full-time workers (35+ hours a week) on a rotating semester basis. If a student is hired to begin their co-op for a fall semester, then they will work full-time during the fall, return to campus to take class for the spring semester, work for your group over the following summer, take class over the fall, and finish their final term with your group in the next spring semester. Co-op programs are always paid, and as opposed to internships, they offer students long-term projects and expose them to various facets of the company. A consulting firm, for example, may have a co-op student working on internal projects over their first term as they get acquainted to company and by their second and third terms directly engaging with customers providing detailed data analysis and proposals.

Reap the Benefits!

So why bother creating a program at all? Hiring student workers offers employers a countless number of opportunities to develop their own workplace environment as well as to transform their recruiting practices. Below are our reasons why you should begin creating a student worker program today.

  1. Internships and Co-op programs often lead to full-time job offers once students graduate. While it’s not guaranteed that employers give their interns full-time offers, an internship or co-op can serve as an extended interview period. After working with a student for one to three semesters, employers can easily gauge if they want this person working for them full-time.
  2. Expand your recruiting pool. Having a popular internship or co-op program is a well-known fact amongst college students. If you offer a competitive and enticing program, students are more likely to apply for full-time positions after graduating if their friends enjoyed their time working for you as an undergraduate.
  3. You can further introduce a positive environment of mentorship into your workplace. While they operate independently, interns and co-ops are looking for as much real-world experience as they can get. By having them work in tandem with your employees, you can introduce values mentorship in your office space by coaching and guiding the next generation of your field.
  4. Give back to your community. You can continue to create community partners with local colleges and universities. Help your brand grow by constantly hiring new, young talent on a rotating basis.
  5. They’re cheap. With dual ambitions to both be paid and to gain a competitive edge amongst their peers, interns and co-ops are almost always paid less than a full-time employee. If you have a project or series of projects you need completed, consider hiring an intern to fulfill the task at a fraction of the cost.

So, How Do I Get Started?

At this point, creating an internship or co-op program might sound like a unique opportunity for your group. Make sure to return to our blog next week for the best tips and tricks in creating an internship or co-op program and the resources offered by Georgia Tech to help you get started.