Culturally-Attuned Mentoring for Graduating Latina/o Social Workers to Foster Career Advancement

Nelly Rojas Schwan, Lirio K. Negroni, Annette Santiago-Kozmon

Abstract


The underrepresentation of Latinas/os in the social work profession, especially in higher levels of administration, has been amply documented. Successful Latina/o professionals can address the need for Latina/o leadership in the field by mentoring new graduates and supporting their development and career planning as they enter the professional world. This article presents an innovative mentoring program for Latina/o social work professionals conceptualized and led by the Latina/o Network of the Latina/o Network of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The program matches a Latina/o master’s in social work graduating student with a senior Latina/o social work professional. The model of the mentoring program incorporates a coordinator, a liaison to each mentor-mentee dyad, a mentor-mentee developmental relationship, and group gatherings. A key aspect of the model is the attention to and inclusion of Latino cultural values of familismo, personalismo, confianza, and colectivismo, to foster the development of a sense of community. Empirical and anecdotal data illustrate the outcomes of the program. The implementation of the program, the lessons learned, and its applicability to other professionals and cultural groups are discussed.

Keywords


Mentoring, Latina/o professionals, Latino culture, career advancement, developmental relationships

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