“Latinos are entrepreneurs by nature,” according to Latinos in Action founder and executive director, Dr. Jose Enriquez. “A lot of their parents have side businesses, but not a business background. At Latinos in Action, we want students to understand that there is a skills gap, and we want to close that gap.”
With that in mind, Enriquez is hoping to further develop the pathway between the Latino community and the David Eccles School of Business.
Started in 2001, Latinos in Action (LIA) is an asset-based model course offered to schools in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Washington, Texas and Florida. Junior, middle and high school students enroll in the leadership service learning elective, a class offered through college and career readiness programs. LIA is active in 103 Utah schools in 25 districts, and students involved in the curriculum have a 96 percent graduation rate.
Sorenson Center for Discovery & Innovation manager, Cesar Sanchez, is helping direct students to the pathway between the two communities. Recently, Sanchez participated in a panel discussion at the Latinos in Action Youth Leadership Conference at Weber State University.
Sanchez recognizes the similar core values shared between LIA and the Eccles School, and promoted the Eccles experience to conference attendees.
“The Eccles School is a good fit for this group of well-trained young people who are highly motivated and ready to be leaders in their communities,” Sanchez said.
Speaking on the panel with Enriquez, Sanchez talked about leadership, the importance of having a mentor and of persevering. Following the discussion, Sanchez met with students individually and answered career questions.
“I invited them to come to my office and talk about their education and career goals, and continue to get emails from students that I met during this activity,” Sanchez said.
“Students involved in Latinos in Action,” Enriquez added, “already have the spirit of work.”
Enriquez believes that the Eccles School and Latinos in Action students could mutually benefit by intentionally working together. Sanchez agrees and hopes that LIA students begin their careers by traveling the pathway to the business school’s nationally-ranked programs.