When Claritza Abreu, a software developer, and IT specialist arrived in the United States from the Dominican Republic, she felt lost. Although she possessed skills and a university degree worthy of a good job, she did not have any personal or professional connections to find one.
Abreu’s resume now reflects many high-level positions, and she is looking to smooth the way for other Latinos, whether they are recent immigrants, college graduates or others.
Recently, Abreu launched Latinc, a career-oriented social networking site and app tailored especially for the Latino community.
“I’ve been doing mentoring on a one-on-one basis, trying to help people, and I thought, ‘Can I do something more massive?’”
Abreu says that Latinc is a sort of convergence of Facebook and LinkedIn. “It is the first and only mobile app for Latino professionals to connect. It’s for professionals but more interactive and socially oriented. We wanted people to develop closer relationships for them to support each other in their professional careers,” she said.
Latinc invites users to create profiles, request mentoring from another member, view daily suggested job openings and take industry-relevant low-cost online training courses. Members are encouraged to represent their full selves, Abreu said, including their heritage. Users identify their own or their family’s country of origin with a flag icon attached to their profiles, which she says provides another connection point. In the future, users also will be able to identify as part of certain non-ethnic communities, such as LGBTQ, veterans or people with disabilities.
The platform’s cultural attunement is incorporated in minor profile aspects as well, such as the ability for users to enter two first names and two last names.
Employers interested in drawing applicants from or otherwise connecting with Latino communities have reached out to Latinc leadership. These include the Massachusetts state department of education, Liberty Mutual and Latino professional organizations.
“This is going to be one single source where they can reach out to professionals — not only for recruitment but also to the Latino community as one of the largest consumer markets in the United States to market products and services,” Abreu said.