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The UC ANR 4- H Latino Initiative develops a culturally responsive Career Day

The Issue

In 2016, fifty-two percent of K-12 students in California were Latinos and 35 % between 18 and 24 years old were enrolled in a two or four-year college, up from 22 % enrolled in 1993. However, only 15% of Latinos ages 25 to 29 had a bachelor’s degree or higher (Pew Hispanic Research, 2016). A 2015 report from The Campaign for College Opportunity, stated that, “among current Latino undergraduates, 65 percent attend a California community college but only 39 percent will earn a degree, a certificate, or transfer within six years — in comparison with 53 percent of whites and the statewide average of 48 percent” (Daily News, 2015). Importantly, research also shows that millennials with a college degree are less likely than those without a college degree to be unemployed, 3.8% vs. 12.2%, (Pew Research Center 2014). The UC ANR 4-H Latino Initiative, currently piloted in seven Counties, is working towards addressing the needs and building upon the strengths of Latino communities across California to foster higher education attainment through 4-H Youth Development programs.

What Has ANR Done?

With the support of a small grant from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, the UC ANR 4-H Latino Initiative Team developed and implemented their first ever “Latino Career Day” at UC Davis. A total of 18 youth from five counties attended the event. It was planned and coordinated by Carol Garcia, 4-H Diversity and Expansion Program Representative in Monterey County and Lupita Fabregas, Assistant Director for 4-H Diversity and Expansion, with the support of Esther Rodriguez and Araceli Hernandez, from Kern and Orange counties. Students had the opportunity to speak with current UCD students in the Special Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP), the Latina Greek organization Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc., and with faculty scholars from the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS). Students were also led on a tour of the campus and learned about studying abroad.

The Payoff

Students were inspired and motivated to pursue their higher education goals

It was important for youth to meet individuals from similar backgrounds and realize that with hard work, perseverance and guidance, they are capable of attending and succeeding in college. For most students, this trip was their first with 4-H, for others, it was their first time on an airplane and their first hotel stay. Students were asked to complete a video interview and a written survey. One student learned that "college is a good thing because you get to explore and learn a lot" while another was "fascinated learning there are so many majors at UCD." The students enjoyed being with bilingual and bicultural colleagues from different parts of the state and with whom they could share their cultural and family values and concerns. Speaking with students and faculty members from a Latino background was very powerful; the students acknowledged that people "like them" are attending and succeeding in college. The first “Latino Career Day,” which is part of 4-H Career Readiness programming, laid the groundwork for this important event to take place in the coming years.

For more details on the data and reports cited in this story, please reach out to the author.


Supporting Unit: California 4-H Foundation

Lupita Fabregas, Assistant Director for Diversity & Expansion/4-H Youth Development Advisor, lfabregas@ucanr.edu