Advancing education, careers and quality of life through access to technology.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has been active in providing training to the Latino Community for forty years. SER Jobs for Progress and LNESC were founded to address the critical need for career development and academic advancement among the Latinos. Today, both of these organizations use technology as an integral part of what they do.
In 2000, President Clinton announced his "National Call to Action" to help bring digital opportunity to youth, families and communities around the country. Over 400 companies and non-profit organizations agreed to sign the Call to Action to help bridge the digital divide. Groups pledged support for two critical national goals: (1) Ensuring Access to 21st Century Learning Tools for Every Child in Every School; and (2) Expanding Digital Opportunity For Every American Family And Community.
Soon after, LULAC created the Empower Hispanic America with Technology initiative which aims to empower the Latino community by increasing access to and utilization of key telecommunication technologies which have been historically been out of reach for many Hispanic Americans. Since the beginning of EHAT, LULAC has sought to establish new and enhance existing community technology centers in locations that serve low-income Hispanic communities. In addition, the initiative has helped expand the LULAC’s web site to become a portal for the Hispanic community to gain access to information, programs, and resources for education, employment, technology, housing, health, civil rights and civic engagement including voter registration.
Since 2004, LULAC’s Empower Hispanic America with Technology initiative as established the nation’s largest Latino network of community technology centers. With 60 technology centers, housed under LULAC and affiliate community based non-profit organizations, each year thousands of people are provided free educational workshops, employment training, and STEM education to local Latino communities across the United States. Together our community technology centers and sponsors bridge the digital divide and provide the Hispanic community with an invaluable resource to the advancement of this fast growing population—access to technology and content reflecting their interests and needs. To date, EHAT has helped over 1.6 million underserved Latinos advance their education, careers, and quality of life.
Why need still exists for EHAT?
Latinos continue to fall behind in academics:
• Only 20% of Latino students leave high school prepared for college.
• Latinos have the lowest rate of college enrollment 37% of Latinos who graduate from high school and are between the ages of 18-24 enroll in college after high school. This statistic falls behind White, 49% and Black, 40% of high school completers.
• Latinos also achieve bachelor’s degree in low numbers. In 2013, only 15% of Hispanics ages 25-29 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. This gap is significant when compared to 60% of Asians and 40% of Whites of that same age range.
• Taxpayers could increase the nation’s productivity potential by $45 billion if the U.S. could cut one year’s worth of high school dropouts in half.
Latinos continue to trail in STEM:
• Although high school dropout rates have lowered over the past years among Latinos, Latinos still continue to have the highest dropout rate compared to Black, White, and Asian high school students. Less than one in 10 Hispanics have completed college.
• The proportion of Latinos in STEM careers is not reflective of the overall U.S. population. Although Latino youth have significantly grown to become 20% of all youth in our country, less than 2% of the STEM workforce is composed of Latinos. Therefore, there is not only a lack of representation but a lack of role models that can inspire these youth to pursue a field that is both challenging but rewarding and sees a vast economic growth.
• STEM jobs are predicted to grow 62% in the next decade. Given these numbers, Latinos are still less likely to pursue a degree in the STEM field.
Access to Broadband continues to be an issue of today:
• 5 million households lack access to broadband. Low income Latino and Black population make up the majority of these households.
• Latinos are significantly less likely than whites to have a home internet connection (55% vs. 75%). This difference persists even if the sample is limited to internet users (85% vs. 96%). (2010)
• Among internet users, Hispanics are less likely to have a home broadband connection (69%) than are whites (84%) or blacks (78%). (2010)
• Some 72% of Latinos say they own a desktop or laptop computer, compared with 83% of whites. (2012)
• Fully 95% of Latinos from families with annual incomes of $50,000 or more own a desktop or laptop computer—the highest ownership rate among Latinos. By contrast, just 35% of Latinos ages 65 and older own a desktop or laptop computer. (2012)
• 74% of whites and 62% of African Americans and roughly half of Hispanics (56%) have high-speed internet access at home, according to the data collected this past September. (2013)
• In Palo Alto, Calif.—in the heart of Silicon Valley and home of Stanford University—at least 4% of households do not own any type of computer. In Pasadena, Calif.—home of Cal Tech—at least 11% of homes don’t have computers. (Sep 2014)
• Roughly one-third (37.4%) of Hispanic households whose incomes fall below $50,000 and with children ages 6 to 17 do not have a high-speed internet connection at home. (2013)
• Among Hispanics, higher levels of educational attainment and household income are linked to higher rates of internet use, home internet access, having a home broadband connection, and cell phone ownership. (2010)
Why do these statistics matter?
These numbers prove that the demand for EHAT still exists; the Digital Divide continues to construct education and employment barriers for those without access to technology. Without access to internet, students, particularly youth, are more likely to fall behind in homework because the amount of resources available to them is limited. The amount of information for a student, who lacks internet or computer access at home, puts that student at a lower playing field when it comes to their education. With most schools across the nation implementing technology into their curriculum, some teachers may assign homework via online portals. Without access to the internet, students face the obstacle of doing their basic homework assignments, completing college applications, or conduct job searches. In addition, parents who lack these digital resources and skills could face the reality that they are unable to be fully engaged in their child’s education. Parental engagement is crucial to a child’s academic success. As the largest growing minority population, investing in the Latino population’s digital access ensures that the country as a whole is intellectually and technologically moving forward in this new digital age.
Benefits of EHAT Network
Receive the opportunity to apply to grants each year for your center.
Gain ideas, resources, and curricula that can benefit your site and assist you with helping your community.
Have the opportunity to receive funding by EHAT sponsors and be able to start a computer lab or refresh existing lab.
EHAT funded sites are equipped with at least 10 computers networked together, high-speed internet access for the first year, a wireless access point, and a laser printer. Each site should have MS Office and other software products provided by LULAC installed and running on computers.
Interact with community technology centers across the country and gain invaluable relationships and networks.
Become a part of the largest Latino technology network in the country.
Receive national recognition on the LULAC website.
Partake in discussions and be part of the larger movement to close the digital divide among Latinos and low-income communities.
And Much More! Opportunities through EHAT constantly arise based on need, funding and suggestions by community technology centers.