Over the last 15 years, the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has worked to foster and maintain relationships throughout the West Michigan area. Our desire to directly impact and uplift the West Michigan Latino community has led us to create Latino-initiated and Latino-led programming with a focus on economic and workforce development. Building Bridges Through Education is an initiative powered by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce through collective partnerships with employers, universities, philanthropy, nonprofits, and community. We are innovating at the intersection of education and workforce development to help bridge and strengthen the Latino talent pipeline in Michigan.
BUILDING BRIDGES THROUGH EDUCATION
The mission of Building Bridges Through Education (BBTE) is to advance Michigan Latinx college talent by bridging college & career through career connections and development in order to help grow a dynamic and inclusive workforce in West Michigan.
BBTE’s goal is to prepare and connect high potential Latinx college talent with the tools and opportunities to reach their career goals while educating and encouraging businesses to invest in their communities. Our team upholds the objectives of providing resources and knowledge around culturally relevant and responsive career readiness development. BBTE supports our Latinx college talent through the power of coaching and builds upon their skills to promote candidacy for career placement.
WHAT WE’VE DONE
Over the past year, our initiative has grown from an idea on a whiteboard to a collective community initiative. As we gather knowledge and continue to foster relationships, our team has partnered with seven area employers and three universities (and counting) to create access and development opportunities for Latinx talent, allowing them to connect and grow their max potential through data-driven strategy and responsive implementation.
Recently, we officially launched the initiative with our kickoff event: “Get Focused: The Summit.” This culturally relevant event was designed with Latinx culture in mind to help prepare students for their next steps as professionals.
WHERE WE’RE GOING
Our multifaceted efforts through training and events—whether that be our Mixtape Series, Annual Summit, coaching sessions, or networking hours—are designed with Latinx culture in mind to get college Latinx talent focused as they navigate the next steps in their journey to becoming professionals. While planning, we are intentional about what we provide during these events in order to help students navigate systems and promote career readiness.
We seek to better outcomes for Latinx talent and our workforce systems.
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