Senate and Hispanic Federation to Hold Second Annual Unidad Latina Conference

September 27, 2012

Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos today announced that the Senate and the Hispanic Federation will conduct the second annual Unidad Latina event this week. Unidad Latina is a two-day conference designed to help increase economic opportunities for the growing Hispanic community in New York. It is being held on September 28 and 29 at the Hilton New York in Manhattan.


“This year’s Unidad Latina will build upon the successful inaugural event held last fall to bring elected officials, community advocates, and business leaders together to increase the economic opportunities for millions of Hispanic New Yorkers,” Senator Skelos said. “We have planned workshops, speakers and events that I believe will educate and inspire those who participate, and will enable them to bring important information on creating jobs and strengthening our economy back to our communities.”


Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation, said, “Unidad Latina provides a unique opportunity during Hispanic Heritage Month to engage key leaders in the New York State Senate around policies and programs needed to address the needs and aspirations of Latino New Yorkers. We look forward to a robust exchange this weekend that leads to positive outcomes for our community.”


The conference will include policy workshops, networking opportunities, and presentations featuring prominent speakers from the private and public sectors. Senator Skelos is among the speakers scheduled to address conference attendees, and other members of the Senate and Assembly are scheduled to participate in this bipartisan event.


Time Warner Cable, Inc. is the lead sponsor of the event through their support of Unidad Latina and the Hispanic Federation.


The featured speaker for Saturday’s Líderes Luncheon is Cristóbal Conde, former President and CEO of SunGard and current senior advisor to TPG Capital and Providence Equity Partners. At the time of his departure in 2011, SunGard employed 26,000 and was the largest privately-held business software and IT services company in the world.


The luncheon will also include an awards presentation for the first Unidad Latina scholarships to 15 college-bound high school seniors. Each of the students was nominated by Senators to receive $2,000 for college. The awardees were chosen by an independent committee upon demonstrating academic achievement and community service.


In addition, special awards will be presented throughout the conference to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Hispanic community, including:

* The Unidad Latina Community Advocate Award presented to Guillermo Chacón, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS;

* The Unidad Latina Legacy Award presented to Dr. Rosa Gil, the Founder, President and CEO of Comunilife, Inc.;

* The Unidad Latina Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Carlos Barba, President and CEO of Buenavision;

* The Unidad Latina Businesswoman of the Year Award presented to Cira Angeles, a leading voice in the livery industry and currently a partner at LA Riverside Brokerage, Inc.; and

* The Unidad Latina Businessman of the Year Award presented to Alex Castro, Founder, President and COO of C&S Hardware Inc., President of Castro’s Development Inc. in Florida and CEO of two real estate investment companies in New York.


Unidad Latina’s workshops are being held on Saturday morning and afternoon. They will bring together recognized experts in the areas of business, media, education, health care, and government, as well as students from CUNY colleges to share ideas about ways to address the challenges facing Hispanic communities. Workshop topics include the following:


> Beyond Telenovelas: Understanding the Power and Influence of the Spanish-Language Media - Spanish-language media has an unprecedented reach and influence in the Latino community, reaching millions of Latinos daily in the New York metro area and across the nation.  The news coverage from Spanish outlets provides a special lens into the aspirations and pressing issues and challenges confronting the Latino community. This roundtable will serve as a forum to discuss the different interests that shape what gets covered by the Spanish-language media, the role it plays in empowering Latinos, and how community leaders can connect to and engage this medium to champion local causes.


> Pathways to Growth: Emerging Job Markets and Training Opportunities for Latinos - The unemployment rate for Latinos in New York was 11.5 percent as of 2011; far higher than the 7 percent rate prior to the 2008 Great Recession. For too many Latino families across the state, the situation has gone from bad to worse with declining household income and growing living expenses.  Come hear what resources and opportunities are being offered by government, workforce development providers and higher education institutions to help Latinos and others get jobs and climb up the economic ladder. The discussion will also focus on economic development trends and policy proposals and interventions that can support Latino job growth.


> CREAR Futuros: A Model for Latino College Success - Ensuring a strong and vibrant Hispanic college pipeline is fundamental to the social and economic progress of the state. This panel will discuss the CREAR Futuros initiative, led by the Hispanic Federation and the City University of New York, which aims to achieve systemic change and large-scale collective impact on Latino college access, retention, and graduation. The session will discuss a student-retention and achievement model program at four targeted CUNY colleges and the New York State Partnership for Latino College Success which will advocate for New York State-wide policies that promote completion and efficiency in K-16 education systems. 


> Salud es Vida: Addressing Latino Health Disparities - Latinos are disproportionately impacted by diabetes, asthma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, cancer, cardiovascular disease and lack of health insurance. Unfortunately, much of what drives the growth of poor health amongst Latinos are the economic and structural barriers that impede access to affordable, high quality health services. This workshop will address the scope and causes of Latino health disparities and identify successful community-based reform efforts and public policies needed to promote solutions to Latino health care needs.


> CUNY Youth Roundtable: Public Service as a Path to Making an Impact on New York - This special roundtable will bring together distinguished members of the New York State Senate Leadership and students from CUNY colleges for a conversation on public service through internships and volunteerism.  The roundtable will address the personal and community merits of public service and cover the range of government, non-profit and other venues where students can pursue valuable internships and volunteer opportunities. Moreover, the session will allow students and leaders working with youth the chance to discuss and hear about the real impact these internships have on New Yorkers’ lives and broader public policy.


> Revving the Economic Engine: Challenges and Opportunities for Latino Small Businesses - New York State’s economy is driven in part by nearly 200,000 Hispanic-owned businesses.  Hispanic businesses have grown three times faster than other New York businesses and have generated over $18 billion in sales.  Unfortunately, Latino entrepreneurs face unique barriers and are often left out of state and local economic investment efforts.  This panel will discuss some of the challenges Latino entrepreneurs encounter and highlight what must be done to better support these businesses through loans, bilingual outreach, microenterprise, fine reduction, small business development and other measures.


Additional sponsors of the event include: Walmart, Waste Management, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Greater New York Hospital Association, Resorts World Casino, City University of New York, Altria, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Molloy College, Con Edison, Pfizer, Rent-A-Center, Yonkers Raceway, American Transit Insurance, and News Corporation.


 Additional information about the conference is available at


“The countries of origins of New York’s Hispanic population are diverse, but once here, we are all New Yorkers,” Senator Skelos said. “Unidad Latina is one way we can recognize the many contributions Hispanics make to our economy and culture, and demonstrate our commitment to helping everyone succeed.”