In 2012, Census data showed that about 630 people on average moved to Florida
each day. Hispanics alone jumped in numbers a whopping 84 percent in Orange County, FL during the past decade, currently representing about one in every three residents. With this dramatic influx of new immigrants to Central Florida seeking a better quality of life, we must take the necessary steps to ensure that the transition to their new home and culture is effective and that the improved conditions they seek are maintained for them and all Central Floridians.
Through a partnership with local churches with large Hispanic congregations, Latino led community based organizations, governmental agencies, and institutions that render social services, we are able to implement this series of workshops for recent arrivals to the Central Florida region from Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. The overarching goal is to help Latinos experience a smoother transition into Central Florida, and integration into the American workforce and mindset without losing their cultural values. These Talleres de Bienvenida or “Welcome Workshops” will effectively inform new Spanish-dominant residents about important aspects of relocating and living in Central Florida to ensure each person is equipped with the necessary knowledge to better adapt to life in this region.
The Talleres de Bienvenida series of welcoming workshops are comprised of 3 consecutive workshops, and are structured as follows:
Workshop I. “Central FL Living” The most important issues for Hispanic families who are recent arrivals are: • Housing – We will cover pricing of home rentals and sales in the Central Florida region and the factors that should be considered before renting or buying a permanent residence. • Employment – We will discuss job industries that are stable and have demonstrated growth during and after the Recession, average salaries and requirements for some professions. • Transportation – Mobility is indispensable in Central Florida to be able to be effective in work and leisure. We will share transportation options and related costs/regulations to maintain a vehicle. • Education – Here we will explore the challenges and opportunities that exist while learning in a different language and culture, including schools, costs, requirements and financial assistance. • Health – Access to excellent and compassionate healthcare is a priority for families, especially with children. It is imperative to inform new residents about how to manage their health needs, seek help when needed and apply for coverage under the new universal healthcare guidelines.
Workshop II. “Doing Business the American Way”
We will discuss cultural competency as it relates to entering the American workforce with the primary goal of providing practical insights that will help Hispanic adults understand the cultural nuances of the U.S. work environment for them to effectively collaborate with their non-Hispanic employers and co-workers. The goal is to provide attendees with tangible tools to secure job retention and also manage cultural clashes and discrimination. Some relevant topics that will be covered are:
• American perception of Latino culture and people
• Cultural sensitivity, competency and tolerance
• How to identify a culture clash and deal with uncomfortable situations
• Comparison of U.S. and Hispanic cultural standards
• Personal image, language and apparel
Workshop III. “Professional Enrichment and Job Fair”
We want to empower Hispanic professionals and workers with the tools and skills they need to reach and attain their career and financial goals while also contributing to the growth of our local economy. Latinos are large in numbers, however the only way we will be able to exercise our influence and leadership is buy advancing in our career paths. With this in mind, we will offer a workshop comprised of:
• Library, educational and online resources for professional advancement
• Resume techniques, reviews and editing
• Licensing procedures (nurses, doctors, teachers, skilled workers, etc.)
• Information about English-language learning options
• Mock interviews in English/interviewing skills training
• Job-related motivational speech
• Starting your own business (for people with an entrepreneurial spirit)
These workshops were conducted in 2014 and 2015, and we had to discontinue because of lack of funding to cover program implementation and advertising costs to let people know when and where the Talleres de Bienvenida were being held using mass media. With the crisis in Puerto Rico still in full force and getting worse, the migration to the U.S. mainland, and especially Central Florida, has increased and we want to be able to help people as soon as they arrive so they can 'echar pa' lante' immediately upon arrival. Gracias for your support.
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