Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Career Counseling with Hispanics/latinos/as

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Career Counseling with Hispanics/latinos/as

Article excerpt


Hispanics/Latinas/os are the largest, youngest, and fastest growing minority in the U.S. Two real cases are presented to illustrate the career choices and paths of successful Latina/o professionals. Demographic characteristics of this important sector of the labor force are discussed. Key Latina/o values and cultural considerations are described with the specific purpose of developing culturally sensitive career counseling conceptualizations, assessments, and interventions. . Recommendations for practice are provided for enhancing the educational and career development among Latinas/os in the U.S.

Career Counseling with Hispanic/Latinos/as

Latinas/os represent the largest minority group in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). They are a diverse, young, and rapidly increasing number of citizens or immigrants. Growth projections suggest they will become the most important segment of the U.S. workforce in the future. Their career paths seem to be non-linear or non-traditional and they may not be aware of or use career counseling services. Their progress and contributions to our society can be enhanced by providing career counseling to Latina/os from elementary school and beyond.

Career counseling studies suggest that Latinas/os have not been the focus of career theories or research (Wells, Delgado-Romero, & Shelton, 2010). Conversations about Latinas/os in career counseling and education are frequently based on stereotyped representations and myths about this group, instead of on data. To address this issue, this article provides timely information about the characteristics and conditions of Latinas/ os in the U.S. Two career cases illustrate the path and options of two successful Latina/o professionals. These real cases reveal a range of unique issues that Latinas/os encounter in their career development, as well as issues that generalize to other persons of this group, such as immigrants to the United States and first generation college students. Readers are encouraged to use these case studies and others, as well as the information presented below to consider alternatives to working with Latina/o clients in a culturally sensitive manner. A review of relevant demographics and core values of the Latina/o workforce is presented afterwards, followed by recommendations for practice.


Hilda: He was half right. I was suited to be a Secretary. My mother immigrated to this country from Nicaragua to escape poverty. She stayed home for many years to raise my brothers, sisters and me. She later went to work in a toy factory to help my family make ends meet. My father was from Mexico and worked as a farm worker, railroad worker and a Teamsters shop steward in a battery recycling plant. Like many families, my parents made many sacrifices so my six siblings and I could achieve whatever our talents would allow. Though our family could not afford much, we always had each other. My parents knew that the only way for their children to have a better life was to get an education. Without their moral and spiritual support, I know I couldn't have achieved so much. I grew up in a barrio (Spanish neighborhood) outside of Los Angeles, during the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggle. We lived in a town called La Puente. I grew up in the shadows of polluted landfills and toxic dumps. My parents - and my friends' parents - went to work in conditions that were dirty and unsafe. I was a good student in high school, but I didn't think about college. No one in my family ever had. One of my school's career counselors told me I wasn't college material. He told me I was best suited for office work and suggested that I become a secretary. As it turns out, he was half right. I was suited to be a Secretary - The Secretary of Labor. Hilda L. Solis was the first generation of her family to attend college and the first Latina to become Secretary of Labor in this country.


Manny: I Didn't Know Where I Was Going but I Got Here Anyway Although Manny's family was economically stable, the advent of World War II, the sociopolitical situation in Mexico, and the need for Mexican blue-collar workers in the U. …

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