Latin American Association to assess needs of Latino families in Georgia

The Latin American Association (LAA), which has a Northwest Georgia Outreach Center in Dalton, is conducting an assessment of community needs in 2021, in partnership with Dalton State College.

Association staff are working closely with researchers from the Wright School of Business and the college’s social sciences department to assess and better understand the needs of Latino families in Georgia.

The LAA’s CEO, Santiago Márquez, said with the setbacks Latino families have experienced in 2020, the timing is right for assessing where Latinos are now and how their needs have shifted. The last time the LAA conducted a community needs assessment was in 2015.

“The needs of the Latino community now are different from where the needs were a year ago,” Márquez said. “Many families are now struggling to meet basic needs.”

Dalton State College is a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a federal designation granted to colleges whose student population is at least 25% Hispanic. About a third of DSC’s student body is Hispanic. The LAA opened an outreach center in northwest Georgia in 2018, and its director, Eva Rodríguez, has worked closely with Dalton State College and other community partners since.

“Dalton State College is excited to participate in the LAA community needs assessment study,” said lead researcher Fernando García, assistant professor of management at the Wright School of Business. “The knowledge we gain from this study will allow LAA staff to better understand and serve the changing needs of the state’s growing Latino population.”

García said Dalton State College wishes to publish the findings in academic journals. The study will cover the areas of metro Atlanta and northwest Georgia.

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