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ERIC Number: ED538866
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Latino Workers Hitting a Blue-Collar Ceiling. New Journalism on Latino Children
Fuller, Bruce; McElmurry, Sara
Institute of Human Development (NJ1)
Chicago has a dynamic history of embracing change, evolving from an agricultural and commercial hub to the steel powerhouse that would undergird America's industrial revolution. The "City of Big Shoulders" now bears a sizeable burden, one that again requires it to embrace change. The metro area must shift to an economy built on knowledge industries and high-tech firms, relying on a dramatically shifting labor force that lacks the versatile skills demanded by emerging industries. Latinos were three of every five new entrants to the region's labor force over the past decade. Most have roots in Chicago, but many remain poorly educated. If current trends continue, many of the younger generation are bound for low-paying, semi-skilled jobs at best, entering the workforce with neither the human capital nor cultural connections that will boost the local economy's productivity or attract cutting-edge firms. Eager Latino workers are flooding a metro labor force that may reflect stagnant productivity and fail to provide the upward mobility. This threatens to dampen Chicago's economic vitality. This brief presents new research that illustrates how both Mexican immigrants and many of their US-born counterparts--Latinos of Mexican origin--are overrepresented in low-skilled, low-pay manufacturing, food service, and construction industries. Given the grim economic implications of a regional economy built on the shoulders of a low-skilled workforce, the brief calls for investment in education--particularly early childhood education--as a critical means to build a well-equipped, competitive workforce. (Contains 5 charts and 28 endnotes.) [Based on a technical paper written by John Koval.]
Institute of Human Development. University of California Berkeley, 1121 Tolman Hall #1690, Berkeley, CA 94720. Tel: 510-642-7239; Fax: 510-642-7969; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Basic Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: McCormick Foundation
Authoring Institution: University of California, Berkeley. Institute of Human Development (IHD)
Identifiers - Location: United States