Welcoming the 2022-23 Cohort of Latinx on the Rise

BENTONVILLE, Ark., (November 8, 2022) – The NWA Hispanic Leadership Council (NWA HLC) launched the Latinx on the Rise Mentoring Program for the 2022-23 academic year. The event, hosted at Exchange Bentonville, focused on introducing the new cohort of mentors and mentees and sharing best practices in mentoring relationships.  The event counted with the participation of current and previous mentors and mentees, representation from the University of Arkansas (U of A) and the Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC), as well as leaders in education and community advocacy. The mentoring program and the related pre-graduation internships are sponsored by a three-year grant awarded by the Walton Family Foundation in 2021, and by the contribution of Synchrony Financial.  

According to the Northwest Arkansas Council Diversity report the Hispanic/Latino population saw the largest gains in population, accounting for over 17% of the population in 2021 and forecasted to grow to 19% by 2026.  As the NWA Latinx college population increases, currently at 21% at NWACC and 9.7% at the U of A, it is paramount that these young professionals have the skills and social capital to successfully enter the workforce and become caring and productive citizens. “Developing the next generation of community leaders will be the catalyst to have an equitable and robust Northwest Arkansas region.  Our mentoring program provides tools for our up-and-coming leaders to continue this growth journey” said Pepe Estrada, President of the NWA Hispanic Leadership Council Board of Directors. 

The Latinx on the Rise Mentoring program pairs college students with professional leaders to provide them with experiences that complement their academic formation, such as relationship building and networking, as well as the opportunity of learning by coaching on leadership topics. The program encourages civic engagement and provides the opportunity to meet key community leaders, become familiar with the existing community development organizations and learn about the challenges and opportunities of the NWA region.  The success of the program is due to the generosity and commitment of the Mentors, who give their time, effort and expertise to students, many of which are first generation college students, who otherwise will not be able to benefit from valuable interactions outside of their academic programs. “It is very empowering and inspiring to be surrounded by so many accomplished people in our community; I hope to be a part of many more of these moments in the future” said Yullyana Laguna, Mentorship program participant. 

The Latinx on the Rise Mentoring Program supports a new cohort each academic year.  Enrollment of mentors and mentees is completed between August and September. The program runs through the Summer. The pre-graduation internship program will begin in the Spring of 2023.


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