Public relations is a new tool to reach minorities, specially Latinos. It is important that practitioners get the necessary training to interact with this group, only then will PR professionals have a better understanding of this community and ways to approach them. It is vital to learn about their consumptions and values. A good place to get started is at the university level.
Educators should help students to get the background information needed to approach Hispanics. More organizations are looking for diversity at work, and this is a great opportunity for students who are part of minorities. However, ethnicity is not a substitute for experience in the multicultural market. A Hispanic student should not take for granted a successful relationship with the Latino community just because they speak the language, according to Maria Len-Rios in a PR Journal.
Having an affinity for the culture is a plus, but it does not necessarily have to come from being part of the group. Experience and professionalism are the most important values required for success.
Young students should get internships, volunteer and work for businesses before deciding in which market they want to work.
As a public relations student I think the Hispanic minority needs more representation in the field. In class, at the University of Florida, the number of Hispanics students enrolled in public relations courses is small. Moreover, minority topics are vaguely mentioned in class. Strategies or techniques to communicate with this group of consumers are not offered as part of the curriculum.
However, if training is provided, I think that creativity and willingness to understand the culture can lead professionals to build excellent relationships with the Hispanic public.
But my question is, who is going to provide this training? I think we need Hispanic practitioners teaching public relations at universities to facilitate a better understanding and acceptance of this new culture and its people for students.
I believe that it takes time to submerge in the Hispanic culture. My advice is to get started while still in college, you never know if your company will require you to work with Hispanics. Be ready!