Latinx Leadership Initiative (LLI)

Latinx Leadership Initiative Boston College
Institution
State
Massachusetts
Academic Level
Graduate
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Career/Workforce,
Pathway/Pipeline

Overview

The Latinx Leadership Initiative (LLI) trains and supports Latino, bilingual MSW and PhD students to transform how the social work profession works with Latinx communities in the United States. LLI’s goal is to increase the number of Latino social workers in the U.S. and develop social work leaders equipped to work effectively with the Latino community.

Program Description

Established in 2013, LLI was designed to meet the needs of a growing Latinx population in the U.S. Currently, fewer than 5 percent of social workers in the U.S. are Latinx. Research shows that social work services that are language and ethnic concordant are the most beneficial for Latinx communities. However, the dismal number of Latinx social workers in the U.S. cannot meet the current needs of Latinx communities. As a result, many Latinx communities receive services from non-Latinx social workers who do not understand Latinx culture.

LLI offers its participants a cohort-based learning model emphasizing a paradigm of cultural capital among the Latinx community. Together, all LLI students take 8 Master’s in Social Work core classes in Spanish, allowing students to develop professional proficiency in Spanish required to work with Latinx communities and create an academic space in which the assets of Latinx culture can flourish. Students are also offered internship placements supervised by LLI alumni that allow students to work closely with Latinx communities and require them to use their bilingual background. Mentorship is key in the LLI model. Faculty and LLI advisors, who themselves are bilingual Latinxs and are often LLI alumni, serve as mentors to program participants.

Outcome

  • 100% career placement:  Of program graduates, 100% have secured full-time positions and many are now in leadership positions informing practice and serving their community.
  • Robust Latinx MSW network:  LLI has established a network of 148 Latino alumni across 23 states that support current students as advisors and mentors.
  • Increased student recognition:  A substantial proportion of LLI participants have received competitive awards including the national Council of Social Work Education’s Minority Fellowship. In just the last two years, 9 LLI students have received this coveted fellowship aimed at increasing the number of individuals trained to work with underserved ethno-racial minorities at risk for mental health and/or substance abuse disorders.