88Nine Radio Milwaukee

This scholarship is inspiring a boost in Latino representation

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee
“The stigma about the kind of jobs that Latinos can get needs to be broken”

On Saturday, May 12, the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM) will host their annual HPGM Five Star Gala to raise money for resources and scholarships that Latino students in Milwaukee can greatly benefit from.

Listen to the audio story below to learn more the HPGM organization.

HPGM’s mission is to guide Latino students through college and graduation. The 18-year-old organization provides services to college Latinos based on their needs. Aside from academic scholarships, HPGM offers financial literacy classes, academic advising and post-graduation career guidance. They also help students find internships, jobs and mentors.

“We don’t have those conversations at the dinner table like ‘go find yourself a mentor,’ we just tell our kids ‘go to college, and graduate and make mami and papi proud,” said Griselda Aldrete, the President and CEO of HPGM. “That’s where we come in and say ‘okay, these are the things you’re gonna need to start thinking about.”

HPGM Five Star Gala (photo provided by HPGM)

Juan Daniel Villarreal is an accounting student in his senior year at Cardinal Stritch University, and he was recently awarded a scholarship from HPGM. Villareal also served as vice president and president of the Cardinal Stritch Chapter of HPGM. At the university level, Latinos participating in HPGM help organize and host educational and professional development events on-campus for other students.

Villareal says he is thankful for the scholarship because it provides Latino students with opportunities they typically cannot afford. He also sees this as a chance to change the narrative and stereotypes Latinos face in society.

“The stigma about the kind of jobs that Latinos can get needs to be broken,” said Villareal. “I really believe it can be broken soon.

Scholarship amounts range from $2,500 to $10,000. Aldrete says they sometimes have “trouble finding people to apply.” She added that scholarship applications are still open until the end of June, and encourages all Latino college students to apply. More information on HPGM scholarships can be found here.