Now Hiring? Latinos and the Job Creation Policies in the South Atlantic
|Click report above to download||Click graphic above to view full size version or click here to download.|
The purpose of this report is to examine the implications of South Atlantic state job creation policies on Latino workers’ ability to obtain employment in the region. The report’s findings help answer the main research questions:
- Are Latinos benefiting from job growth?
- Where do we find a significant presence of Latino workers?
- What are the areas of promise for Latino workers?
Research for this report included analysis of demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and interviews with 35 regional stakeholders, from government officials to service providers. The report is by no means conclusive, but rather serves as a basis for discussion and further research.
The report uncovers the following major findings:
Limited Educational Attainment and English Proficiency Disadvantage Many Latino Workers. A majority of the Hispanic workforce in the South Atlantic is underprepared to meet the skills and educational requirements of employers in growth industries.
Business Recruitment Thrives as Job Training Languishes. With little exception, most South Atlantic states have approached economic development by creating and expanding business tax incentives in an effort to recruit more employers to their region. As a result, necessary investments in workforce development have lacked.
Businesses React by Recruiting Workers from Out of State. All states struggle with the inability to provide a workforce with the required skills and training to meet industry needs. In response, employers throughout the region are forced to recruit non-local workers.
Unfilled Openings in Bilingual Jobs Demonstrates Policy Lag. Elevated concentrations of limited English proficiency among Latino adults in the region coupled with inadequate access to language training has limited Hispanics’ ability to fill the growing need for bilingual workers.
Budding Hispanic Enterprises on Unsure Footing. Business support and training is needed to ensure the sustainability and success of the region’s rapidly growing Hispanic-owned businesses.
Anti-Immigrant Laws and Rhetoric Hurt Workers and Businesses. The region’s wave of anti-immigrant legislation has resulted in lost production and profits for businesses, employer misuse and abuse of electronic verification systems, and overall hiring discrimination. This has increased fear, hampered businesses, and generated a chilling effect on employers’ inclination to hire Latinos, regardless of workers’ immigration status.
Another notable but less significant finding is related to geography:
Geographic Alignment of Jobs and Workforce No Guarantee of Employment. While further research is needed, it appears that most Hispanics, including those residing in counties with significant growth, are unlikely to access new job opportunities despite overrepresentation in several growth industries in the South Atlantic.
The lessons of this research indicate that job creation policies should be amenable to business needs while cultivating an adequately trained and educated labor force prioritizing local hiring. This research leads to the following implications for policy:
Align business attraction and workforce development strategies.
Build a workforce pipeline that matches industry needs.
Increase the competitiveness of Latino workers.
Improve access to workforce development programs for individuals with low educational and English-language attainment.
Integrate support for small business into job creation strategies.
Halt the progress of flawed anti-immigration and employment verification laws at the state level.
Promote policies that strengthen businesses and preserve the hiring of current workforce.
Examine geographic barriers and obstacles restricting access to employment.
- Now Hiring Orlando Roundtable Proceedings
- Fractures in the Foundation: The Latino Worker’s Experience in an Era of Declining Job Quality
- Fractures in the Foundation Executive Summary
- Fractures in the Foundation Executive Summary-Spanish
- Economic Progress Report, November 2009
- Latino Priorities in a Job Creation Package