Latino Leadership Program Launched – Delaware Business Times

Perdue management and employees, heads of state and members of the Hispanic community came together to celebrate the Perdue Foundation’s $20,000 donation to launch HACE Delaware. | PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

MILFORD — Plaza Delaware and the Hispanic Commission of Delaware are bringing a national program focused on leadership development for Latino professionals and a $20,000 donation from Lost Farms Wednesday will make it free for future attendees.

The non-profit National Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) will launch a Delaware subsidiary in early 2023 and offer a hard and soft skills program, including writing, public speaking, and project development. Participants will also be expected to complete a community project by the end of the program, which will last between 3 and 4 months.

With a gift from the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, HACE Delaware aims to start with a cohort of no more than 50 people, with its free program for those admitted. The program will be held in Dover in a hybrid model, with alternating in-person and online attendance.

Presenting the check, Perdue Farms Vice President of Human Resources and Acting Chief Diversity Officer Gary Miller said that as one of the largest private employers in the state, the company stands is committed to investing in its associates and communities.

“We know that creating opportunities for the personal and professional growth of our neighbors, which of course includes the Latino community, is mutually beneficial,” Miller told local and state leaders at the Milford Perdue office. “This is a first-of-its-kind training program, and it will do a lot for people who enroll in it as they will use the skills they learn to advance their careers and serve our communities.” We are proud to be aligned in this partnership.

Delaware’s Hispanic population is growing, and that growth is primarily fueled in Sussex County. Sussex County’s Hispanic resident population was 22,357 in 2020, and it is expected to increase by 53% by 2050. Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long said the US census will show that the state’s population is one-quarter Latino and that the average age of the Latino community is 24.

“When I go to conference rooms or communities, I don’t see that [number] at our tables,” the lieutenant governor said. “We need to have real representation not just in the workforce, but in all of our leaders and opportunities in our communities.”

Early surveys by La Plaza and its partners show that the Hispanic population did not consider themselves ready for political or economic leadership, as many people were too busy working in their own businesses. However, respondents often said that the next generation would be the ones with a voice.

“Leadership development is really going to be the way to go. Why wait four generations, as many of us did with our grandparents and parents, to have these opportunities at birth? La Plaza executive director Mary Dupont said.

La Plaza worked with the Delaware Hispanic Commission and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office to weigh options to facilitate leadership training to raise the next generation of emerging leaders — and HACE, a national organization in 36 states, matched the invoice.

HACE has been active for at least four decades and is known to be culturally oriented for the Latin American community. With a nationwide network, Delawarens will have the opportunity to consult with other HACE graduates from different professions.

“It’s one of the most important things, whether someone is in this program and whether they work in business or health. They will be able to use this network and discuss their experiences, what they have done and what they have learned,” said Edwin Hernández, Hall-Long’s director of community relations and co-chair of leadership development for the Commission. Hispanic from Delaware. Committee.

Speaking about his own childhood experiences, Hernández recalled one of his classmates who didn’t speak English or understand the culture. So his classmate withdrew, until his parents sent him to an immersive leadership program.

“When he came back he was talking, engaging with us and volunteering. No one recognized this kid, and to be honest I didn’t recognize myself in him. I didn’t know I could be that kid,” Hernández said. “This is an opportunity for countless Ediwns who have yet to realize their potential.”

HACE Delaware is also funded by donations from partners like the Delaware Hispanic Commission and the Arsht Cannon Fund, from which La Plaza Delaware received $100,000 this year. But Perdue’s involvement also symbolizes an investment from a large Delaware-based company with many factories in Sussex County.

Miller told the Delaware Business Times that Perdue offers three leadership development initiatives for its associates: a college reimbursement benefit; Perdue Learning University, which offers leadership training conferences and access to self-study modules; and finally, assistance in the creation of a training plan for employees interested in the growth of the company.

“I am an example [last program] myself. When I joined Perdue many years ago, I was a human resources manager at a plant in Accomac, Virginia. It is through these development opportunities that I have been able to place myself where I am today,” said Miller. “I’ve seen so many people grow in our company, and it’s been a great experience.”

Kevin E. Boling