Posts Tagged ‘opportunities’

Show me the green

Friday, February 6th, 2009

A few days ago, I was having dinner with a friend who works at Big Oil and we were discussing the real impact that green jobs will have on the Latino community.

“When you look at it,” he said, “putting solar panels on buildings is not going to generate as many jobs as they are saying. I’m afraid many of these “green jobs” may turn out to be a fiasco like Ethanol which ended up costing jobs, driving up food prices and bad for the environment. I want to know what the real green jobs are.”

Yes, I know his looking at it from Big Oil’s angle, but he has a point. The expression “green jobs” encompasses such a wide range of industries and activities that it is becoming a “catch all” bucket. Unavoidably, people will call “green” lots of jobs that are far from being even moderately so, but calling them “green” will attract investment. So, it is obviously the fashionable thing to do.

But I also think that, eventually, we will figure out where the real deals are. My friend was suggesting that instead of calling jobs “green” we might as well call them what they are: jobs in reconstruction of infrastructure, expansion of highways, fixing our bridges, etc., and get the economy moving.

The key here is that as you look at reinventing yourself for the workforce, you look at opportunities that are real and long term and not that are here today and gone tomorrow like some of those so-called green jobs could be.

Here are some areas to explore and that may receive an influx of money from the incentive package coming down from Washington some time in the near future:

  • Computerizing medical records
  • Retrofitting government buildings
  • Anything connected with recycling: whether it has to do with recycling garbage or manufacturing products from recycled materials
  • Anything connected with energy efficiency: from manufacturing electro-domestic items to offering home improvements as an independent contractor
  • Working at car companies that are building hybrids and electrical cars
  • As more community colleges and colleges expand their offerings to prepare the workforce for green jobs, you’ll see a lot more options to “retrofit” your own education to fit the market.
    Check these sites for info on jobs:,,

    Still dreaming of the Dream Act

    Sunday, April 6th, 2008


      U.S.Senator Ken Salazar was the keynote speaker at the Harvard Business School Latino Association Organization’s dinner last Friday.

      He spoke about his experiences growing up as the grandson of immigrants from Mexico. And although his speech was interesting as it showed how close most Latinos are to the generation who immigrated into this country, I found that the most interesting part of his presentation was the question and answer period.

        I asked him about the Dream act. What he thought in terms of the bill passing and what we could do to help its passing. He said that last year the Senate spent three days discussing the bill and that in the end they couldn’t get the number of senators needed to pass it. “There is still discrimination in this country,” Senator Salazar said.

          The Senator also shared that during the discussion of the bill, his office received hundreds of bricks by mail asking him to build a wall and deport all undocumented immigrants.

            I think people who are in favor of giving a path to legalization to those youngsters who were brought illegally into this country by their parents, should continue to make their voices heard by their representatives. We should continue to write letters, make phone calls and speak publicly about this problem and the consequences of not giving teenagers raised in this country a chance to fulfill their dreams of going to college and contributing to our economy and society.

              Senator Ken Salazar is hopeful that if our next president is a Democrat, immigration will be one of the top priority issues on the agenda. I think that even if it is, we must continue to make our voices heard in the mainstream if we want to help change the status quo.

              The leaders of the future

              Saturday, March 8th, 2008


              This Friday and Saturday, the Hispanic Support Organization, the Latino employee group of Verizon, sponsored a youth conference within its main conference for high school students of the New York area. I was one of the keynote speakers for the youth conference and had the great opportunity to meet a wonderful group of young students. 

              We talked about leadership, mentors, the value of internships and community service. They were actively engaged and openly offered their insights and opinions.  For one of the final activities I asked them to chose one of five topics for a letter to Verizon as a way of thanking the company for this opportunity.  

              The letters they wrote show the great impact that people who spoke at the conference had on them, they reflect how many new concepts they learned and how much they appreciated being taken seriously as the leaders of the future.  

              One of the last questions I was asked before my workshop was over was: “What did you learn from us today?” I had learned so much, it was hard to put into a few words.  Yet undoubtedly, one of the most important lessons I learned, I told them, was that the bad reputation that today’s youth has of being apathetic and uninterested is undeserved. These teenagers showed me that they are passionate about their community and their advancement, that they want to acquire as much knowledge as they can, that they are respectful of the adults around them and that they have a lot to say and to offer. 

              Maybe it is us, the adults, who need to create more opportunities for teenagers to show the world what they are made of and how they plan to lead the next generation. 

              There are scholarships for everyone, even adults!

              Thursday, January 17th, 2008

              Many people I know would love to go back to school and either finish their college degree or get their masters but they can’t face the financial burden. In many cases, however, this decision is key to their future as they will get stuck at a certain level unless they can produce the adequate degree.

              So, here’s the good news: there truly are scholarships out there for everyone, regardless of your background, your interest, and most importantly, your age!

              Check this website for a whole list of scholarships for adults and non traditional students:

              Also, fill out the forms with your profile on these websites to see what scholarships are available to you:

              If you want to study, nothing can stop you. Find the resources and move forward!


              When students miss opportunities

              Thursday, January 10th, 2008

              audiencia-completa-2.jpgIt’s hard to learn about students who are not going to college because they can’t afford it. There are so many scholarships out there…

                The problem is that sometimes those who could guide and support students in the process of applying (guidance counselors, parents) are not familiar with the opportunities available for Latino students. Other times, kids get discouraged when they hear that they need to write an essay (or a few of them) not knowing that once they write the essays they can use them for multiple submissions. Or they get frustrated once they are turned down for a particular scholarship unaware that they can apply to numerous ones at the same time.

              One other problem seems to be that when the best student in a class submits his/her application to a scholarship, his/her peers give up participating. Yet, there are scholarships like Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) HACER with a focus on community involvement and not on GPA.

                The application period for many scholarships ends soon. HACER’s, for instance, ends February 15th and you’d be surprised how many students let the opportunity go by. Last year, the HACER chapter of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area distributed 50,000 applications and they only received 1,700 back!Find info on this scholarships visiting

              The positive side of losing your job

              Saturday, January 5th, 2008

              handshake.jpgWe’ve all heard the phrase “when one door closes, another one opens” and I think there is truth to that. Even in the worst of circumstances, there is opportunity when something ends.

                When it comes to losing your job, it may be a good time for you to do some introspection and find out if you really like what you are doing, the industry you are in or even the city or state where you live. You may be surprised at what you may discover!

              It’s possible that a few years ago you liked your industry or your job and now things have changed (whether with the industry itself or with yourself). Or you may realize that you were following your family’s mandate and it’s time to follow your own desires and goals.

                So try not to jump right back into the market without giving some thought to where you are, where you want to be in a few years and what you would really like to do with your life. Once you figure that out, it may take some planning to get to where you wish to be, it may even entail taking courses, networking or getting a specific certification.

              But even if you can’t do it all right now because you need an income and you find another job right away, make sure you register for those courses or you join a professional association where you can network, and set a target date in your calendar by which you wish to be working in your dream job. It’s a great way to turn the loss of a job into an opportunity for change!