Consider three pieces of data that shed light on the economic potential and the challenges of Milwaukee’s Hispanic population:
The population of the Milwaukee area has been generally unchanged since 2000 – except for the significant growth of the Hispanic population in the area.
Hispanic people are over-represented in low-paying jobs and under-represented in high-paying jobs in greater Milwaukee.
By a variety of measures, there have been positive trends in educational success for Hispanics in the Milwaukee area, but it continues to be the case that smaller percentages have college degrees than people from other demographic groups.
Those facts come from an analysis by researchers for the Wisconsin Policy Forum that was commissioned by the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee and they framed an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program on Thursday, Sept. 19, at Marquette Law School in which Policy Forum researcher Joe Peterangelo presented findings of the study and Raquel Filmanowicz, board chair of Hispanic Professionals, and Zeferino Cisneros, a board member of the group, shared their perspective on what they hope lies ahead. Filmanowicz is an executive with BMO Bank and Cisneros an executive with GE Healthcare.
Filmanowicz said the study shows how much has to be done to get more Hispanics into college and into high-paying jobs.
Cisneros emphasized the importance of leadership in setting more people on paths to economic success and the importance of more people developing high expectations for themselves.
The theme through much of the discussion was the need for broader educational success. Filmanowicz said more needed to be done to help Hispanic college students cope with everything from academics to personal finances to dealing with the cultural adjustment of a university setting.
Gousha asked if increasing Hispanic success was a pressing issue for the Milwaukee area as a whole. “Absolutely,” said Filmanowicz. “The time to act is today,” said Cisneros.
The Policy Forum study, titled “Upward Mobility: Assessing the Characteristics of Greater Milwaukee’s Growing Hispanic Workforce,” may be viewed by clicking here. Video of the “On the Issues” program may be viewed by clicking here.