MiHC exists to foster business, community, and educational collaborations to close the equity gap.
In 2010, JoAnn Chávez, now Senior Vice President (SVP) and Chief Legal Officer at DTE Energy, founded the Summer Talent Exposure Program (STEP), which is aimed at providing Hispanic college students with the opportunity to develop their talents in a corporate environment. It celebrates a 95% college graduation rate and has served 250+ youth.
Over the years, the wraparound model of the STEP program has proven effective: many former students have secured jobs at companies such as DTE Energy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis), Ford Motor Company, and Ally Financial. Several former STEP students are also pursuing graduate degrees.
To expand upon the STEP program’s proven success, The Michigan Hispanic Collaborative (MiHC) was established by a group of Hispanic leaders in Southeast Michigan as a 501c3 in 2018. Complementing Ms. Chávez’s 11 years’ experience with STEP, the hiring of Anita Martínez as MiHC’s Executive Director ensured La Próxima Generación (Próx Gen) success. The Chávez and Martínez pair, first-generation Southwest Detroit natives, have brought critical influence, relationships, and experience that accelerated MiHC’s focus.
Limited funding drives Hispanic community-based organizations rightful focus on social service and workforce development programs serving high risk youth. Consequently, academically ambitious students have been tossed aside. We focus on the “forgotten of the forgotten”; reaching targeted Hispanic communities’ over time.
By providing students with wraparound services, like mentoring, networking, and hard and soft skills training, the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative will improve the Hispanic youth workforce pipeline, streamline community and corporate connections, and build community mobility. This holistic approach will create a generation of Hispanic youth that are well-prepared to enter the workforce and thus succeed, and advance, economically.