The La Verne chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America, was started here in January to support students’ professional success.
Julio Garcia, junior economics major, founded the La Verne ALPFA chapter.
“This club could bring more attention to (ULV) students as they enter the workforce,” Garcia said. “The club also communicates to the world who La Verne is and how this university can provide not only efficient workers but great leaders too.”
ALPFA, founded in Los Angeles in the 1970s, was the first national Latino professional association in the United States. The club was first established to help struggling Latinos in the United States improve their skills and knowledge in the workforce.
ALPFA is now one of the most diverse associations in the country and has chapters in various recognized universities.
“This club is no longer just for Latinos,” Garcia said. “The name still remains there because it was founded by Latinos way back. ALPFA chapters in universities such as USC or UCLA are very diverse in their club members. Some of their club presidents are Indian or Asian while others are Caucasian.”
ALPFA first began as an association solely for business administration, but is now an association that can help students in any field with the process of interviewing, job development and skills for any profession.
“ALPFA at La Verne has an opportunity to be different,” Garcia said.
“Since La Verne is so small, we have an opportunity to cater to everyone who needs help. We encourage all majors to join this club and reach out to us for help. We don’t want to just be an accounting or finance club, but a club that can help students in any area of interest.”
Fidel Gomez, a business manager at the Small Business Development Center, offered Garcia the opportunity to establish the club.
“I found Julio as a perfect fit for this position because he had such a hunger for knowledge and a desire to do something but just did not have the guidance or resources to do it,” Gomez said.
Gomez also serves as a professional on the board of ALPFA. She said the club strives to provide students with as many tools as possible for them to become leaders in our community.
“At some point in your life you’re going to have to apply for a job, schedule an interview and work with professionals,” Gomez said.
“What’s so great about this student club is that the skills we plant into our students can help anyone.”
Biology majors, for example, want to connect with big corporations such as Kaiser Permanente, and ALPFA can help them connect with these large companies or leaders in that field, Gomez said.
“It’s about bringing resources to ULV,” Gomez said. “ALPFA is driven to attend the actual needs of an institution and we want to do just that for the University.”
Marwan Hassan, freshman political science and computer engineering double major, said this club would provide much needed guidance for his future.
“I can personally benefit a lot from this club because I suck at creating resumes or preparing for job applications,” Hassan said.
“Since people in the club have real world connections, they know what large corporations, such as Google or Apple, want to see in an applicant and that places us ahead of other college students we’re competing against.”
Hassan emphasized that student clubs like ALPFA are important because not many students have the help they need for their future and applying to jobs is not always as easy as it may look.
Hannah Cokash, freshman creative writing major, said the club could not only help students grow in their professional field but also grow as individuals.
“I can definitely see the passion this club has to help students like me with their future,” Cokash said.
“The club is also involved in not only one, but multiple communities which brings this feeling of belonging to me.”
Cokash said the club also helps promote one of the University’s core values of diversity and inclusivity.
“Within this club there are so many different opinions from dedicated people who just want to see you be the best you can be,” Cokash said.
“Being surrounded by individuals with different backgrounds and individuals who might want the same thing you want but in a different field just creates open mindedness and a better understanding of the diversity in the world.”
President Devorah Lieberman and Dean of the College of Business and Public Management Abe Helou are both big supporters of the chapter.
“This is an opportunity for students to feel like they belong,” Helou said.
“By being a part of an ALPFA chapter, students are open to interact with other chapters at national conventions and share skills they have learned within their own club.”
Alondra Campos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.