Long time Latino advocate Werner Oyanadel has been selected as the Executive Director of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. Oyanadel, a native of Chile who has been serving as interim director, said he is looking forward to continue the work LPRAC has initiated over the past few years and has identified the three major areas LPRAC will focus on during the next legislative session.
Oyanadel, who was selected after a two month selection process said, “In the past four years
our team of community leaders and staff began making use of results-based decision frameworks to
make recommendations to policymakers and have already begun to produce measurable improvements, but
there is still a lot of work to be done. I endeavor to use my newly gained influence
in this position to find innovative ways in support of equitable educational opportunities for our children,
increase diversity in state jobs, prevent unnecessary involvement of the Latino youth
within the juvenile justice system, and promote economic development.”
- In the upcoming 2014 legislative session, LPRAC will work on policy changes to prevent unnecessary involvement of Latino youth within the juvenile justice system in response to a recently released report released by Connecticut Voices for children – a research-based think tank – that indicates arrests for Latino students is increasing in Connecticut;
- It will also work on education reform issues, particularly issues affecting English Language Learners (ELLs). English Language Learners represent a large and growing part of Connecticut’s student population. Due to the difficulties many ELL students face in an English learning environment, they are often at a greater risk of failing to complete school than their English-speaking classmates. Therefore, LPRAC will, among other recommendations, push for the creation of a new secretary of English Language Learners Office to be housed within the Executive Branch of Government to help address, in a comprehensive manner, the unique needs of ELL students; &
- LPRAC will recommend policy changes to the Minority Business Set-Aside Program. Connecticut’s statute states that 25% of contracting dollars must be awarded to small business enterprises (SBEs), and 25% of contracting dollars awarded to SBEs must be awarded to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) however the set-aside appears to have been set arbitrarily without statistical determination and unfortunately the disparity study currently being prepared by the state to remedy this problem will take more than eight years to be completed. Therefore, LPRAC, on an interim basis, until the completion of the disparity study, shall recommend legislation to:
- Separate the state’s SBE Set-Aside Program from the MBE/WBE program.
- On an interim basis, until completion of the Disparity Study, LPRAC recommends creating a percentage of 5 % of eligible contracting dollars as the goal (not set-aside) for Latino Business Enterprises.