Closing the Gap: Latino Unemployment in Boston

According to a recent report released by the National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP) and published by USA Today, Massachusetts was named the worst state in the country for economic and social disparities between white and Latino residents.

The report states that while the typical white household in Massachusetts earns $82,029 a year, the median income for Latino households is just $39,742. The gap of more than $42,000 is the largest of any state and nearly 3 times the national gap. Youth employment has been declining over the past 25 years, which affects youth of color the most.

Cristhian W. wants to become a Biochemistry teacher. He is currently applying to colleges with the help of Sociedad Latina.

Cristhian W. wants to become a Biochemistry teacher. He is currently applying to colleges with the help of Sociedad Latina.

Cristhian W., a recent graduate from Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Sociedad Latina’s Academy for Latinos Achieving Success (ALAS) program was taken aback at first when he heard that Massachusetts was the worst state in the country for Latinos. However, after reading about the economic disparities, he agreed, “It’s extremely hard for Latinos to get high-paying jobs here in this city. Getting any job is difficult, especially for those of us who are still learning English. It creates a barrier and we get looked down upon because of it.” Cristhian also believes that "it's harder for Latinos because we are sometimes the first in our families to go to college or university in the U.S., so both students and parents don't know the process."  Cristhian is working with ALAS coach Abraham Sierra to finish up his college and FAFSA applications and hopes to become a Biochemistry teacher so that one day he “can help students better understand everything around them and show them their opportunities because I know how hard it is.”

Alexandra Oliver-Dávila, Sociedad Latina's Executive Director, weighed in on the issue by describing solutions to be set in place. These solutions would ensure that Latino youth in Boston receive the same opportunities that she had after immigrating to the United States as a child. Read more about it here.

Sociedad Latina is one of the few Latino organizations in Boston that aims to close these gaps by providing young Latinos with the necessary supports to succeed in the 21st century workforce. Through our Workforce Development Pathways, we offer free year-round programming that includes skill building & career exploration, hands-on experience through internships, mentoring matches with Latino professionals across the city, and academic & college access support. These efforts have allowed more Latino youth to gain confidence in their abilities and apply for jobs in the robust healthcare, public service, arts, business and entrepreneurship, and STEM career fields throughout the city of Boston.  

Maria Grande