Programming Needs

Wordcloud showing Latino Employment trends

Specific Programming Recommendations

English and Spanish Language Programming for Adults and Youth

The most requested educational need for Latina/o immigrant adult learners was multi-level English Literacy: learning to read, write and communicate. English literacy is foundational and necessary to access most programming currently offered by Extension, for personal and familial positive social and economic integration, and community capacity building. Latina/o parents also expressed the need for programming to assist their children to retain Spanish language and aspects of Latina/o cultural heritage and traits.

Educational Pathways for Parents and Youth

Parents are aware of the social and economic benefits of education for their children and themselves. The study found that many parents are unaware of how their local education systems operate. They have little idea about how to be helpful in their children’s education or how to achieve their own educational aspirations. Programming that teaches about local K12 and statewide higher education and career development systems for adults and youth (technical colleges, UW system, and private colleges) would be valued, beneficial, and well used. Parents also expressed that one of the ways they could help youth succeed in K12 is to offer programs for parents that teach basic education skills and support.

Civic and Personal Rights

There is little understanding of local and statewide governance and decision-making processes within the study population. This is the case for Latina/o immigrants and, to a lesser extent, with native born parents in both urban and rural areas. Most have not engaged in the civic or governance processes of their cities or counties. There is also limited interaction between local publicly-elected officials and Latina/o communities.iii Culturally and linguistically competent civic and governance programs for adults are needed for the Latina/o community. These programs could be modeled after current youth governance programs. UW-Extension could also leverage its 100+ years of experience and relationships with counties and elected officials to serve as a liaison that provides opportunities for dialogue between Latina/o community members and public decision makers. Knowledge about basic personal, worker and immigrant legal rights is an area of programming of great interest in the Latina/o community. Most immigrants have limited contact with formal government structures and are unfamiliar with their basic rights as members of the community.

Programming to expand knowledge in these areas would be highly valued and would serve as a means to engage with and build trust, leading to smoother integration of Latina/o immigrant communities.