Leadership Program Builds a Culturally Competent Workforce for the Future of Aging

Article excerpt

The ASA New Ventures in Leadership program is actively recruiting for its 2011-2012 class of Partners. The program's core goal is to help participants to enhance their professional skills so they may improve quality of life, health, safety and economic security for older adults in culturally appropriate ways. Now in its 19th year, applicants to this year's program can join the ranks of graduates like Pedro Rodriguez, who is now a member of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's Commission on Aging.

Rodriguez says that not only does the year-long mentorship program, "allow people of color to get a wide perspective on the field of aging," but connections he made during the 2000-2001 class exist to this day. 'The New Ventures project is revealing in that way - we found out that everyone is in the same boat across the country. Everyone's experiencing issues with this same population," he said.


Partners explore and expand their leadership skills and knowledge of cultural competence through assessments and training sessions, web-based learning modules, mentoring and coaching. And, Partners will use the knowledge gained by developing a project that advances the work of their organization and benefits the community.

Rodriguez also credits the program with opening doors for him professionally because of its emphasis on networking.

"People inside and outside the field of aging respect how vigorous the program is," he said. "People in government that I may have previously had contentious relationships with over policy issues, as I was on the advocacy side - those relationships became better after that," he adds. …