Tuesday, February 10, 2009

LA Foundation Pushes New Effort to Upgrade Latino Civic Participation

The California Community Foundation will pump $3.75 million into a program meant to improve the English and job skills of immigrants and make them better and more active citizens. Nothing particularly new. These are priorities of many Latino groups, but what is unique is the analysis and the new ideas of the initiative. (See LA Times article.) Latinos constitute about half the workforce of Los Angeles and contribute 40% of the gross domestic product. A third of all consumption is attributed to Latinos. That proportion will only grow, especially as the "baby-boomers" soon begin to retire. This transition will be crucial. The Latino workforce that will replace the retirees has so far not had the same educational and skill levels. The focus of the new initiative is to upgrade these, especially through innovative projects like Santa Ana's English language program. (See Times article.) The continued prosperity of Los Angeles will depend on success of such efforts.

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