Socio-spatial Geographies of Hispanic Immigrant Youth Accessing the Urban Labor Market
1 online resource (549 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
This study combines interviews, questionnaires, journaling, mental mapping, and a participatory action research (PAR) project to examine the lived experiences of Hispanic immigrant youth as they navigate the labor market. Research questions address how youth are transitioning into the workforce in an age of labor insecurity, anti-immigrant sentiment and policy; what the challenges are; and how the youth propose to improve their job access. Attention is paid to how differences in documentation status, and other demographic and neighborhood variables, affect job access and how youth perceive their opportunities. Applying a mixed-methods, multi-scalar approach, this study captures how the personal and the local interconnect with the institutional at the local, state and national level. How youth operationalize and deal with their documentation status on a day-to-day basis is spatially contingent. Lack of documentation status is a factor that intersects with but tends to override other personal, household, and neighborhood characteristics. DACA has profound benefits on undocumented participants’ lives but it is not enough to secure their future. There is a lack of understanding about immigration policies and statuses by youth and their families, and employers, which can reduce job opportunities for non-citizen youth. Also, many Latino/a youth, regardless of their status, face stereotyping and discrimination at work, school, or in public spaces, based on their ethnicity. This impacts their work access, confidence, and aspirations. Family expectations and support are key in motivating and encouraging youth to work hard and achieve their dreams. Youth are also able to leverage their bilingualism, biculturalism, and "immigrant" determination in professional situations. In the face of challenges, youth present agency and resilience. The PAR project and avenues for change offered by youth support the idea that youth themselves know best how to improve their labor market opportunities, and they should be involved in the creation and implementation of these initiatives. Lastly, this study furthers our discussion about immigrant integration and segmented assimilation, and demonstrates how Hispanic youth experience socio-spatial labor market inclusion and exclusion.
SociologyGeographyEthnicity--Study and teachingHispanic Americans--Study and teaching
ImmigrationLatino YouthParticipatory Action Research (PAR)Qualitative MethodsSegmented AssimilationSocio-Spatial Inclusion/exclusion
Geography & Urban Regional Analysis
Furuseth, OwenWang, QingfangCoffman, Maren
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2016.
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