Editor’s note: This entry ran in 2014 and was the second in a series of career related blog entries leading up to the El Mundo Boston Latino Career Expo. The Latino Career Expo is Boston’s largest and most prestigious diversity career fair, attracting over 1,500 job seekers and nearly 40 recruiters from the public sector and top firms across the health, education, and financial services industries. This year’s event will be held on March 26th at the Marriott Courtyard Boston from 1 pm to 5 pm and is presented by: Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University, the MBTA, State Street, EMC, and Eastern Bank.
By Elvis Jocol Lara
This year, the Latino Career Expo, presented by El Mundo Boston, is reaching its tenth year bringing the region’s most reputable and prestigious recruiters together with Boston’s most talented and dynamic diverse talent. This year promises to be the most successful yet as more of the region’s prestigious employers than ever have signed on to be a part of the event. Organizations like Harvard University, Boston Children’s Hospital and State Street Corporation are among those slated to be in attendance in search of the region’s top notch diverse talent.
As we approach this historic milestone, let’s take a look back to when it all started and forward to what is in store for the coming years.
The Latino Career Expo stemmed from an initial idea from Jay Cosmopolous, Vice President of Advertising and Event Sponsorships. Having worked in Latino Media for 16 years at the time, Jay saw a desperate need for there to be a bridge between corporate Boston and the city’s increasingly diverse neighborhoods. “There were so many hard working and talented Latinos who were unemployed or underemployed that were being ignored in the city. In addition, we had a large Latino college student population that wasn’t being retained by the city,” says Jay of the state of diversity among Boston’s workforce at the time. In the absence of large scale advocates for Latinos in the city, he saw an opportunity for El Mundo to be that bridge.
He found an eager ally in Alberto Vasallo III, CEO of El Mundo Boston. Together they sought out corporate, government and community entities willing to engage the community in a platform that had never before been tried in the city. In 2004, the Latino Career Expo became a reality, providing a forum for blue and white collar Latinos alike to approach recruiters first hand in their pursuit of the American Dream. The event was a hit, bringing together over 2,000 job seekers and 35 recruiters at the Marriott Courtyard Boston, which is still the home venue for the event.
Shortly thereafter, based on the success of the first Latino Career Expo, El Mundo increased the reach of the event, expanding to two expos in the city of Boston and one in the city of Lawrence in 2005. The career expos continued to flourish over the next two years but were subsequently reduced to one per year following the economic recession of 2008. But as employers pulled back on recruiting, the demand for new jobs only increased among individuals, especially within the Latino community which was among the hardest hit during the economic downturn.
Rather than discard the idea of the Latino Career Expo, management at El Mundo realized the importance of the event during hard economic times and buckled down to ensure its survival. Even during the most difficult of times, the Latino Career Expo managed to bring some of the region’s most prestigious employers to connect with Latino talent. Today, as employers begin to ratchet up their employment efforts and more Latinos than ever are graduating from Boston’s world class colleges and universities, recruiters have returned in full force to the Latino Career Expo in search of the plethora of Latino talent that exists in the city.
El Mundo sees no limit for what the Latino Career Expo can accomplish in creating opportunities for the Latino community. As more and more Latinos enter the workforce with a college education and a unique bicultural perspective, there has been a surge in demand among employers who are searching to diversify their corporate offices.
As noted in the first blog entry of our career-related series, Latinos are greatly underrepresented in corporate America today. In response and as Boston’s most trusted and longest running Latino Media outlet, El Mundo is committed to the Latino community of Massachusetts and vows to continue to open doors that were previously inaccessible to our hermanos y hermanas. As such, the organization is dedicated to continuing to bring the top employers in the Financial Services, Education, Government and Education sectors. Staying in line with Boston’s evolving economy, future plans also call for diversifying the employer pool to include recruiters from the Tech sector, Biotechnology and Engineering fields to meet the needs of today’s job seekers.
For those who do not hold college or advanced degrees, there is no reason to worry. The organization is steadfast in its commitment to providing opportunities to the entire community. The heritage of this event is deeply rooted in the hard working blue collar Latino and Latina who is looking for employment opportunities to continue to provide a bright future to their families and that is not going to change.
In partnership with employers and candidates, El Mundo Boston is confident that the Latino Career Expo will continue to help the Latino community take a step closer to achieving the American Dream for many years to come.
Elvis Jocol Lara is Founder and President of Casa Guatemala and an experienced Marketing professional who has worked with some of the world’s leading brands. A child of Guatemalan immigrants, he was born in Boston and raised in Waltham, MA. Follow him on Twitter @ElChapin.