Pathways to Success: Immigrant Youth at High School Part I

In diverse cities like New York there is a greater chance that older immigrant youth, without the time to learn and the ability to speak fluent English, will drop out of high school. Also, discrimination; social and geographic isolation; little or no work experience; and lower levels of English proficiency make it even more difficult for older immigrant youth to find employment—thus resulting in disconnection. Immigrants comprise 30% of high school drop-outs in the Unites States. In Canada—the location of the Pathways to Success: Immigrant Youth at High School research project—studies on immigrant youth show that alarmingly high numbers, 46% to 74% in some areas, do not complete high school.

The Pathways to Success research project was a partnership between the Center for Research and Education in Human Services (CREHS) and Wilfrid Laurier University and was conducted in 2006. The Waterloo region of Canada was used as a case study to explore factors that can maximize social and academic accomplishment in immigrant youth attending high school. The project builds on past research by providing in-depth insights into the immigrant youth experience in high school—their challenges, desires, and attitudes to their situation— in order to offer concrete “pathways of success” rooted in the experiences of the immigrant students themselves. The study was centered on youth aged 16 to 20 who had been living in Canada at most five years. The surveyed students where from four ethno-cultural backgrounds: Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan; Northeast Africa; Spanish-speaking Latin America; and the former Yugoslavia.

The project emerged from the increasing concerns about the standing of immigrant youth when they arrive in Canada because the drop-out rates have created challenges for school boards, educators, and communities. Waterloo was an ideal location because it is a mid-sized urban community with a high immigrant population. The researchers’ hope is that their work can be applicable to other communities.

Collecting Data

The questions that guided this study were:

  1. What factors help and hinder positive social and academic outcomes for immigrant youth in high school?
    • What enables them to succeed in school?
    • What prevents them from succeeding in school?
    • What contributes to the desire to either stay in school or leave?
  2. What are the current promising practices or success stories?
  3. What role should peers, families, educational institutions, and the community-at-large play in facilitating positive academic and social outcomes for immigrant youth in school?
  4. What policy instruments and program models within the school system would maximize positive academic and social outcomes for immigrant youth in school?

Methods of gathering information:

  1. Ten key informant interviews with school board trustees/senior administrators, student leaders, parents serving on the Parent Council, ESL teacher, and other community leaders: The purpose of these interviews was to address the guiding questions from different perspectives.
  2. Eight focus groups with immigrant youth, parents of the immigrant youth, and high school teachers: The information gathered in the key informant interviews helped to frame further questions to ask the focus group participants.
  3. Ten in-depth individual interviews with immigrant youth.
  4. A community forum attended by approximately 160 participants including youth, teachers, service providers, government representatives, families, and other interested citizens: The purpose of this was to present the study’s findings and to mobilize the community in the development of a set of strategies to ensure greater success of immigrant youth in high schools.

Research Findings

The results of this study were organized under sections that emerged from the data: the first impression immigrant youth have once arriving in Canada; what enables immigrant youth to have positive experiences in school; and what factors hinder positive experiences.

1. First Impressions

In general, youth and parents both spoke of the opportunities available in Canada, as well as the challenges and stresses related to adapting to a new home. In regard to the school system, some immigrant youth spoke positively about their first impressions and experiences of high school. For them, high school offered new benefits and opportunities not available in their native countries (e.g., more freedoms, better preparation for post-secondary education). Yet other youth also described their first experience of high school as a time of intense confusion and disorientation. This was especially the case for youth who struggled with English when they first arrived.

2. What Enables Positive Outcomes

The enabling factors are organized under three main categories: individual and family level, institutional level and community level. The individual and family level included self-motivation, family support, peer support, and friendships. The institutional level included supportive teachers and principals, consistent and quality education, and specific school, or school-community support systems. On the community level, enabling factors included community support services.

3. What Hinders Positive Outcomes

There are three main categories: individual and family level, institutional level, and socio-political level. Although presented as individual factors, quite often participants reported that a combination of factors led to negative outcomes for youth in high school. On the individual level, the hindering factors were difficulties fitting in to high school culture; the trauma and stress of escaping from war or violence in their native countries; their parents’ unemployment; and parent-child role reversal. The institutional level included unwelcoming school culture and climate; inadequate resources and support systems in school; and difficulties with the school system and meeting academic requirements. The socio-economic level included gaps in education and lack of fluency in English; and teasing and bullying from their peers.

With all this information, the researchers were able to devise a set of recommendations to improve the immigrant experience in high school and possibly reduce drop-out rates.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/3c7vv23

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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The Focus of Educational Reform: School or After-School?

School systems are widely criticized today for their inability to provide youth important critical and strategic thinking skills. New York City residents especially feel that public schools focus too much on standardized test preparation and not enough on fostering the skills that students will need later in life. Educational reform is an issue that has been scrutinized, dissected, and attempted countless times, yet the results never seem sufficient. Many parents ask themselves how their children are to gain the abilities they need, not only to earn a high school diploma but also to succeed in life, from public school education. However, a recent study conducted by professors from the University of Illinois uncovered that youths tend to develop strategic thinking skills from programs outside the classroom, shedding new light on what areas educational reform should emphasize on.

The study examined eleven high-quality urban and rural arts programs and youth leadership programs. The researchers followed the development of strategic thinking in 108 ethnically diverse high school-aged youths by conducting numerous interviews with them. The researchers define strategic thinking as a form of thought involving more than just logic—“It involves learning to anticipate the disorderly ways that events unfold in the real world.” Six of the organizations studied were leadership programs that involved planning community activities, lobbying government agencies, or other activities. Five of them were arts and media-based programs in which the youths’ works were often presented to the community.

Higher-order pathways of the brain develop during adolescence. Thus, youths become able to think at more advanced levels about the dynamics of the real world. Yet, this can only occur if they are given the right experiences. Youths engaged in leadership and art-based programs learn by thinking and talking through the demands of their situations. They learn to brainstorm and plan for unforeseen twists and turns and thus realize the importance of planning. They’re also able to understand the thought processes of the people they are trying to influence. The interviewed youths described their newfound skills as being beneficial in school and beyond. They became better at time management, setting goals and carrying them out, and learning to take into account the things that could go wrong. The researchers discovered that ironically these are skills they rarely learn in the classroom and are more likely to acquire from participating in outside programs.

“In school you learn how government is supposed to work. In youth leadership programs, youth learn how government actually works. They also learn how to influence it,” said Reed Larson, one of the professors involved in the study. “The best way for teens to acquire strategic thinking skills is to use them in working through real-life problems and situations,” he said. “This study shows that good after-school programs provide a valuable context in which teens can learn to think strategically.”

Educational reform is an issue legislative officials and their constituents might never reach a conclusion about, at least in terms of how to better our public schools. Perhaps, the real problem is in the focus of the reform. Youth leadership and art-based programs are where the real-world education takes place. Although the proper reform could also make this an integral part of everyday schooling, at the moment the best response would be to enforce the creation of high-quality after-school programs that can foster strategic thinking skills in youth and encouraging students to join them. These programs can fill in the gap that school education leaves and also provide as a positive recreational activity for youths.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110606171537.htm

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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Bringing Together Diverse Methods of Re-engagement: The HEROES Model Part II

As previously mentioned, the five programs explored by the Youth Adult Capacity Initiative (case studies) are programs located in neighborhoods that are densely populated with disconnected youth. Even though they were successful in different areas of youth development, their impact could easily be drowned in these same communities if they are not able to effectively influence a larger percentage of the demographic in order to effect visible change. These programs and better ones should be replicated and funded, to exponentially increase impact. As such, the HEROES (Heritage, Education, Relationship, Opportunity, Entrepreneurship and Sports) model is a hybrid of these programs, inter-networked with the Liberty-LEADS model for catering to at-risk youth, through consistent positive engagement and support. In developing this model, the founders of Re:LIFE sought for successful strategies and plans that have worked at different programs, and through personal experience dealing with this population. This model was applied in the development of the Re:LIFE Reengagement Program for Disconnected Youth.

Understanding the HEROES Model is important to effectively implementing it:

Heritage: For many immigrants, who cannot communicate effectively in English, it is important to teach the appreciation of cultures and peoples. This creates a sense of community among participants, which could help retention rates, as well as enthusiasm to learn about other cultures and English language in order to succeed educationally and otherwise. One’s knowledge of their heritage has the ability to empower them, build confidence and pride, and excite learning. In order to successfully impact youth, it is imperative that they learn about their cultures, history, experiences and about heroes of their heritage who have or share similar journeys in achieving success.

Education: This is one of the most important solutions to curbing disconnection. As with the Liberty LEADS program, positively engaging disconnected youth six times a week, will keep them busy, expand their horizons and opportunities, as well as reduce crimes associated with being idle. This was constantly explored throughout all five case studies, and plays a crucial role in shaping policies affecting disconnected youth. However, many of these studies only engaged youth for three to five hours per day and three to four times a week. This still leaves room for a relapse back into activities and environments that encourage disconnection and crime. It is therefore necessary to explore and constantly implement new educational strategies that engage youth over longer periods of time during the day and week, with an incentive or rewards approach, that prove successful. This will involve understanding their interests, talents, skills and preferences, (e.g. music, dance, theater, spoken word/rap, photography etc.) and channeling them into their daily/weekly activities.

Relationships: As seen from the challenges of the explored programs, providing just GED and job readiness programs are not sufficient to thwart the effects of disconnection. One has to fully understand youth in order to effectively serve them. This involves, building a “relationship of trust” through counseling, one-on-one mentoring and creating an environment of trust to help foster success. Also healthy relationships teach these youth how to interact with other people, which is necessary for successful transition into society. As such, it is gainful to incorporate relationship-based classes like conflict resolution in the community, constructive debate and communication, anti-violence, community leadership and peer-mentoring classes. These classes could be offered in partnership with higher institutions to help students acquire certificates or diplomas as they go through the program.

Opportunity: It is necessary to create job opportunities for disconnected youth to help motivate them out of disconnection. This involves job training that could lead to career jobs, programs and incentives that would motivate students to explore different skills, talents and services that might enhance their opportunities. Rewarded internships, apprenticeship, vocational training and work-study programs must be part of a youth development program to help encourage and motivate youth in transitioning. As previously said, programs that involve the acquisition of certificates and diplomas for completed courses will actually make participants more marketable as they pass through the program.

Entrepreneurship: As an advocate of youth Entrepreneurship, I have learned that it is important that we teach youth how to provide for themselves through their interests, talents and skills they may possess. One of the major concerns for disconnected youth is earning a wage or making money. As such, teaching and coaching them to monetize ideas that interest them will help empower them, while encouraging them to diligently pursue other goals like education. There are several disconnected male and female youth involved in illegal business dealings, which if guided and taught how to, could create legitimate businesses that would provide for them and their families.

Sports: Physical fitness and nutritional health is very crucial in helping curb disconnection because most jobs that do not require four year degrees like construction, healthcare and transportation would require youth to be fit and in good health. As such, an effective program should incorporate nutrition and fitness training in its curriculum.

HEROES is a model that will impact youth positively and help curb disconnection because it is a hybrid of techniques that have worked in different programs, which are currently impacting minority, disconnected youth lives. The Re:LIFE Reengagement Program is one that ideally employs the HEROES model of success. With the proper funding and acquisition of the required materials, Re:LIFE will be able to positively affect the lives of disconnected youth in NYC and help revolutionize the socio-economic state of high-poverty communities like Harlem.

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Bringing Together Diverse Methods of Re-engagement: The HEROES Model Part I

There are a number of nonprofit and community organizations that provide different services aimed at empowering youth—from health, to education, to criminal justice, etc. Some of these organizations offer more than one service and have succeeded in impacting youth more effectively than others. In order to successfully resolve the problem of youth disconnection, it is important that effective programs be identified and supported. This will help allocate funding more efficiently as well as increase the impact of these programs. The Young Adult Capacity Initiative (YACI) conducted case studies a few years ago to explore the effectiveness of five programs located in New York City neighborhoods that are densely populated with disconnected youth. Re:LIFE is based upon the HEROES model of disconnection—a unique model that incorporates the findings of these studies by merging successful tactics of other youth reconnection programs and avoiding their mistakes.

The Youth Development Institute (YDI) funded five community-based agencies in NYC’s highly concentrated “disconnected youth” neighborhoods to create programs that would address the needs of this demographic. YDI saw the need for programs that would assist young adults in finishing their education, learning basic occupational skills, finding jobs and learning the skills and attitudes necessary to keep the job. In addition, they included that these programs needed to provide a range of services beyond GED classes and help with resume writing and interview skills. The five programs established by YDI included Cypress Hills Youth LEAD, East Side House Settlement, El Camino, Sesame Flyers International, and New Heights Neighborhood Center. These were the programs YACI examined in their case studies.

Outtakes From the Case Studies:

Case 1 (Brooklyn) Cypress Hills Youth LEAD (Learning, Educating others, and Achieving Dreams) Program:

This was an initiative within the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation (CHLDC) in East New York. East New York is in eastern Brooklyn, a part of Brooklyn plagued with high crime rates and violence, high disconnection rates, poverty and low educational attainment. The Cypress Hill LEAD Program initially provided GED preparation classes, weekly employment workshops and social events. It later added a job readiness workshop and counseling aspects of youth development. The main challenge of the Youth LEAD program as indicated by its operators was addressing the high level of support needed by their disconnected youth population. According to some of the staff, they believed that they were only “scratching the surface” of what services they needed to offer. Of the 430 young adults who enrolled in the program since its inception in 2002, 87 registered for the GED, 75 took the exam, 45 received their GEDs and 95 have obtained a job. While there has been some success to the program, its success rate could be better.

Case 2 (Bronx) East Side House Settlement (ESHS):

This was the second study, located in Mott Haven, the Nation’s poorest Congressional District. Its population has very high unemployment rates, low graduation rates and very high disconnection rates. The emphasis of the program at East Side House was on relationship building with youths and retention strategies.ESHS incorporated activities like having students call fellow absent classmates, changing their orientation process, providing counseling and making referrals to other programs if needed as techniques to improve student retention and success rates. Their major challenge was in understanding the needs of this demographic in order to effectively support them. Of 262 students in 2005, 37 took the GED test and passed, 33 obtained jobs. Once again, 37 out of 262 is a low percent success rate.

Case 3 (Harlem – Upper Manhattan) El Camino (the Path):

El Camino was a program at The Harlem’s Children Zone (HCZ) in Central Harlem. Central Harlem is one of New York City’s most poor neighborhoods, with a child poverty rate of 39 percent and plagued with several social ills like poor housing, domestic violence, child abuse, failing educational standards etc. Regular attendance to the GED program was a major problem for this program. Being that its disconnected youth had been out of school for longer periods of time, it affected their attendance rates. Also, having an open policy system of admittance made it difficult to effectively cater to students at a consistent rate and diluted the educational effect of the system. Even though HCZ has been nationally honored for being one of the country’s “most effective and innovative community-building and youth development organizations”, and has achieved great success with in-school youth, the director of the program admitted that their original projected outcomes for the program were entirely unrealistic and did not reflect the reality of what it means to work with this population.

Case 4 (Brooklyn) Sesame Flyers International (SFI):

SFI is a nonprofit organization that operates various cultural, recreational and educational youth development programs in and around the Greater East Flatbush community in Brooklyn. It was founded by Caribbean immigrants to offer their children a place and an opportunity to learn about their cultural heritage. The program instituted at SFI was tagged “Get R.I.C.H”, (meaning Reaching Individuals to Change Humanity). The goal of the Get RICH program was to expose youth to different employment skill-building workshops and one-on-one employment counseling. Furthermore, SFI provided programs such as social and recreational activities (basketball and dance), GED classes, a youth employment program, counseling by case workers and peer support. They met three hours a day, four days a week. During these four days, participants got to meet with staff members once a week. They were trained in job readiness skills, resume building, job search skills, interviewing techniques and computer training. They also instituted a Career Make Over cycle of thirteen weeks—six weeks of training and seven weeks of job searching.

According to SFI, their biggest challenge was defining their target population for the Employment Program because according to them, “there were many subgroups embedded within the disconnected youth group”. The Get R.I.C.H program had only delivered services to 33 youth after the completion of their second Career Make Over cycles. They averaged 8 students per cycle per location, for which success data was not released.

Case 5 (Washington Heights – Upper Manhattan) New Heights Neighborhood Center (NHNC):

NHNC is located in Washington Heights/ Inwood section of upper Manhattan, and has the largest enclave of Dominican immigrants in New York City.The Washington Heights region of upper Manhattan houses a community also plagued with high disconnection rates, unemployment and gang violence. The goal of NHNC was to establish a working relationship between disconnected youth and local businesses in the area. It’s main challenge as it identified was understaffing, and the return of students who were seeking educational, instead of employment goals.

Unfortunately, while this organization succeeded in establishing relationships with local organizations for the benefit of their youth, it seemed to be more centered on providing menial jobs and employment for students, instead striving to educate them as well. Sometimes there is an underlying belief that the youths are not really “cut-out” for education, so instead of “wasting time” trying to persuade or encourage them, finding them menial jobs is deemed a better route to results. As reported by YACI, of 487 students served by the end of 2005, 167 obtained jobs, 207 enrolled in a GED program, and only 28 passed the GED exam. While any success is good, the educational component of this program was dismal, and calls into question the long-term benefits of the program.

The HEROES model for success stands for Heritage, Education, Relationship, Opportunity, Entrepreneurship and Sports. One problem of the five case studies and their results was the fact that most of the programs dealt with one or at most three aspects of the HEROES model. This in turn translated to referrals (if done at all) to other programs. The negative implication of this is that youth might get discouraged if the services at the referred program fall short of warming or effective. Another problem was the lack of an effective tracking method. The inability to track students, who even though they obtain their GED might need help obtaining work or applying to college, dilutes the effort invested in helping those youths in the first place.

Also, the pressure to raise adequate funds by many of these organizations resulted in a redirection of focus for many of them. In a bid to stay afloat financially, programs gradually start to treat participants as statistics/data necessary for fundraising, instead of individuals with colluded problems in need of help. This problem is the main reason why many students are increasingly being cared for at a minimal rate. The provision of GED classes and some job readiness program have become the threshold for measuring success of disconnected youth services, which unfortunately have done little to resolve this enormous and growing problem.  This is why the implementation and duplication of the HEROES model cannot be over-emphasized.

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The Significance of Youth-Mentor Relationships

Despite challenging circumstances, such as poverty, it has been recognized that some young adults are able to make a successful life for themselves after high school.  They are able to avoid the problems that can arise from their economic status or social position like delinquency or unemployment. Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that youth-mentor relationships play a crucial role in this phenomenon.  Mentors, especially those within the community, help youths stay focused on their goals and avoid the potential difficulties associated with the transition into adulthood.

The Adults in the Making Project is a program that is aimed at helping rural African-American youths transition to adulthood. They conducted a study to explore the effectiveness of youth mentorship. It consisted of 345 African-American participants ages 17-18. It measured their progress over the course of a year and a half through interviews with the youths themselves, their mentors, and their parents. The study was conducted within eight counties in Georgia that are among the highest in the nation in poverty rates— Baldwin, Butts, Elbert, Hancock, Morgan, Putnam, Twiggs and Wilkes. Unemployment rates there are also above the national average.

The youths were not assigned mentors, but were allowed to choose a mentor from the community. However, the mentor could not be an immediate family member or live in the youth’s home, and he or she had to be at least 5 years older. In several mentorship programs throughout the country, the mentor is typically unfamiliar to the youth and comes from outside sources. One of the things that the Adults in the Making Project kept in mind was that a mentor does not have to be a stranger. They wanted the youths to really look at the people within their community and see how they could potentially help them better themselves. The mentors would already know a little about the youths and have an investment in them.

This study exposed that aggressive and delinquent behaviors and substance abuse was reduced when the youths had a mentor to provide them support and help them deal with their problems. This correlation was even stronger for those who were experiencing hardships in their everyday lives. Steven Kogan, one of the researchers stated that, “If the youths had some bad things going on in their life, including being treated badly through discrimination or different family stressors, it was particularly helpful for them to have a good relationship with a mentor.”

Young people do not always have people in their lives to turn to for help or support for a number of reasons. A good parental figure is one of the most important factors for positive youth development and unfortunately a number of people grow up without one. This lack of guidance sets the stage for youth disconnection and a number of other problems. Therefore, having somebody outside the family to help one set goals and maintain self-control is a huge compensation for the lack of parental guidance. Kogan says, “The better the youth-mentor relationship was, the less likely the young adults were to be acting out, breaking rules or being aggressive when they were 19 or 20.” Mentorship is a great tool for young people to possess especially when they are experiencing hardships in their lives.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512171527.htm

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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Bullying Behavior As A Result of Absent Fathers

Bullying has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion in the media, among scholars, and ordinary people alike. With the suicide of Rutgers’s student Tyler Clementi and other cases of peer harassment, people have begun to ask the question, “What leads to bullying and how can we prevent it?”  As mentioned in previous blogs, good influences are highly important for positive youth development to occur. Parental influences especially are a crucial factor in the development of youths and Psychologist Andre Christie-Mizell decided to explore the relationship between bullying and the amount of attention youths receive from their parents.

Behavior is driven by one’s perception of the world. If youths feel that they are not receiving enough attention from their parents, those feelings will have to be expressed elsewhere and usually it is through interaction with peers. Christie-Mizell’s study sought to answer, “What is the relationship between the number of hours parents work and adolescent bullying behavior?” and “What is the relationship between bullying behavior and a youth’s perception of the amount of time their parents spend with them?” He classifies bullying behavior as being cruel to others, being disobedient at school, hanging around kids who get in trouble, having a very strong temper and not being sorry for misbehaving.

The results of this study were shocking because they defy the conventional idea of which parent has the most influence on a child’s development.  Christie-Mizell himself began his research with the thought that the mother’s work hours would have the most impact on whether children exhibit bullying behavior. In patriarchal societies, it is the mother who has the greatest responsibility of caring for and monitoring the children. However, he discovered that bullying behavior increased when fathers spent too much time working and youths perceived that they did not spend enough time with their fathers.

Christie-Mizell studied the behavior and perceptions of 687 children ages 10 to 14 years old and living in two-parent households. He measured their bullying behavior using a scale based on the Behavior Problem Index (BPI), a 28-item scale designed to assess typical childhood behavior syndromes. He also observed their parents’ work hours. Mothers’ work hours had little to no effect on bullying behavior. This could be because youths perceive their mothers as being more accessible since they are primarily responsible for the responsibilities at home.

Also, approximately 40% of the mothers and 47% of their spouses/partners worked full-time (35 to 40 hours per week) and 15% of mothers and 50% of their spouses/partners worked overtime (more than 40 hours per week). According to these statistics, fathers tend to work full-time and overtime jobs more often than mothers. Therefore, they would not have as much time as mothers to spend with their children. Christie-Mizell stated that, “What this research shows is that while it’s equally important for kids to spend time with both parents, fathers need to make an extra effort.” His suggestion is to set up a schedule for parent-child interaction in order to guide youth’s perceptions of how much time they spend with their parents.

Fathers have more of an influence on the development of youths than most people think. Thus, one way to solve the issue of bullying is to attack it at its root—helping to foster success and maturity in young males now so they grow up to be responsible fathers in the future, especially those who are at risk of falling prey to unfortunate circumstances. Otherwise, bullying is just another vicious cycle we cannot get around.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128144324.htm

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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Small Businesses and Our Economy

The Office of Advocacy defines a small business as an independent business with less than 500 employees. Few of us are aware of the impact small businesses produce on our economy. Small businesses:

  • Represent 99.7% of all employer firms
  • Employ half of all private sector employees
  • Pay 44% of total U.S. private payroll
  • Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP
  • Hire 43% of high-tech workers (scientists, engineers, computer programmers, etc.)
  • Made up 97.5% of all identified exporters and produced 31 % of export value in FY 2008
  • Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms

People who own and operate their own business often take pride in their work and as a result,   their efficiency is very high. They provide their customers personalized and high-quality products or services. This can be demonstrated by comparing a temporary employee in a big company with a small-business employee. If an employee in a big company is hired for 40 hours a week, for example, he or she may not give the company 40 hours of production. It is difficult to monitor employees in big companies and part of those 40 hours can be spent on orientation, gathering office supplies, getting the computer turned on and paper loaded, etc. The independent entrepreneur usually does not pay per hour, but according to how much work is completed. They also usually charge less money than big companies for the same services or products.

During the 1980s and through the 1990s, the United States saw a growth in minority-owned businesses. However, most experts agree that minority-owned businesses face challenges that their white counterparts are able to avoid. Some factors that might influence the growth of minority-owned businesses are community support, increased networking, training programs, access to financing, and higher levels of education. Many do not see community support as essential but it plays a big role because entrepreneurial minorities benefit by instituting businesses within their communities that meet needs of that community. Community banks were among the most visible supporters of minority entrepreneurs in the 1980 and 90s. Their support today could greatly impact the emergence of new minority-owned business.

Small businesses accounted for 65% of the 15 million net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009. “Small business drives the American economy,” said Dr. Chad Moutray, Chief Economist for the Office of Advocacy in a press release. “Main Street provides the jobs and spurs our economic growth. American entrepreneurs are creative and productive, and these numbers prove it.” Investing in small businesses will greatly benefit the economy and the U.S. should begin by giving minorities the tools to create their own businesses.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/3c7t3u6; http://tinyurl.com/3krukxm; http://tinyurl.com/3l956c2

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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