The long labor day weekend lies ahead, and while many prepare to travel, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been busy working on their “Save A Life” campaign, which alerts to the dangers of drinking and driving, a topic of particular concern for the department in the coming days.

In a 2010 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Latinos demonstrated to be “at particular risk of death and injury from alcohol-related crashes.” In 2006, the report continues, 5,405 Latinos in the United States were fatally injured on the road, 49 percent of which died from alcohol-related collisions.

On Wednesday the TxDOT’s campaign stopped at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) campus, an institution ranked second in Hispanic Outlook’s 2011 list of “Top 100 Colleges Awarding Degrees To Hispanics.” Students participated in activities to learn about the consequences of driving while intoxicated (DWI).

“This would be a good lesson for me,” UTPA student Jorge Valdez told NBC Latino, admitting he had driven under the influence in the past.

Another 2010 report by the NHTSA, “Special Report on Race/Ethnicity and Impaired Driving,” found that among other groups, Hispanics are “less likely” to believe that driving while intoxicated is a “safety problem” or that they will be caught in the act.

In Texas, the TxDOT reported that 10,607 Latino drivers were involved in alcohol-related crashes in 2009, and the nearly 200 that died represent 31 percent of all DWI driver fatalities in the state.

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  • Latinos Face The Second Highest Unemployment Rate In The U.S.

    In July, the national unemployment rate sat at<a href="" target="_hplink"> 8.3 percent</a>, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nation's Latino workers faced the <a href="" target="_hplink">second highest unemployment rate</a> in the country, <a href="" target="_hplink"> with 10.3 percent</a>, seeking work but unable to find it. Latino unemployment has become such a persistent problem that in July, Latino joblessness sat just 1 percent lower than it did during the same period a year ago. Other groups of workers are also struggling. Women over 20 continue to face a higher unemployment rate (10.5 percent) than men of the same age (8.2 percent).

  • The Fastest Growing Occupations In The U.S.

    In 2010, Hispanics made up <a href="" target="_hplink">14.8 percent of the nation's workforce</a>, according to federal data. By 2020, that figure is projected to rise to 18.6 percent. Where will the jobs be? The 10 occupations expected to grow at the fastest pace by 2010: 1) Personal Care Aides (Jobs in health, beauty, and fitness) 2) Home Health Aides 3) Biomedical Engineers 4) Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters 5) Helpers--Carpenters 6) Veterinary Technologists and Technicians 7) Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers 8) Physical Therapist Assistants 9) Helpers--Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 10) Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners <a href="" target="_hplink">Click here</a> to see a list of the 20 fastest-growing occupations on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. (See Table 1)

  • Educational Needs For Fastest Growing Jobs

    Sixteen of the 20 occupations expected to grow most rapidly by 2020, require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Four occupations that require less than a high school diploma rank near the top of this list. However, the median wages paid to these workers at the start of the decade lay between $19,000 and $28,000. Workers in other fast-growing occupations on the list, such as Biomedical Engineering, were paid much more. Biomedical Engineers, the nation's third fastest-growing group of workers, also enjoyed the highest median wage ($81, 540). Entering this field requires at least a Bachelor's degree. <a href="" target="_hplink">Click here</a> to see wages and education data for all 20 occupations on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. (See Table 1)

  • Most Profitable Occupations For Latinos

    While <a href="" target="_hplink">less than half of the 20 fastest growing occupations</a> are in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), studies have noted that these fields often prove to be the <a href="" target="_hplink">most lucrative for minority students.</a> Biomedical Engineering anyone? <a href="" target="_hplink">Click here</a> to view the 25 colleges producing the largest number of Latino graduates with STEM degrees.

  • More Latinos Are Enrolling In Higher Education Institutions

    In August, a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of new Census Bureau data showed that in 2011, for the first time, <a href="" target="_hplink"> Hispanics students made up the largest minority group on college campuses</a>. Over 2 million students ages 18 to 24 are enrolled two-year and four-year institutions. The same report showed that last year Hispanics also <a href="" target="_hplink">made up a record 24 percent of all students</a> in public schools, pre-K through 12th grade.

  • But, Graduation Rates Continue To Lag For Latinos

    Despite an increase in enrollment, the number of Hispanics graduating from two-year and four-year institutions lags behind that of other groups. In 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, 112,000 associate degrees and 140,000 bachelor's degrees were awarded to Hispanics, compared to the 1.2 million bachelor's degrees given to non-Hispanic white students and the 165,000 bachelor's degrees awarded to non-Hispanic black students. Nevertheless, the number of Hispanics graduating from college continues to grow. In 2010 the number was seven times higher than it was four decades before. The number of Latino students graduating from high school has also grown, a <a href="" target="_hplink">76 percent rise from 2010 to 2011.</a> However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the <a href="" target="_hplink">Hispanic high school dropout rate of 15.1 percent continues to outpace that of all other racial and ethnic groups. </a>

  • Latino Degree Pursuits Do Not Align With Workforce Needs

    In spite of job and pay opportunities in STEM occupations, Hispanics represent a small number of those receiving degrees in this field. In 2010, <a href="" target="_hplink">Latinos were awarded 8 percent of all STEM certificates and degrees</a>, according to Excelencia in Education's 'Finding Your Workforce' series. The Washington, D.C-based research organization<a href="" target="_hplink">aims to link Hispanic students with the needs of the U.S. workforce.</a> The top field graduating Latinos was Science, with 10,900 degrees conferred, followed by Engineering, with 9,930 degrees. The organization also found that in both health and STEM fields, Latinos were concentrated in lower paying jobs. In health <a href="" target="_hplink">most were employed within support occupations</a> (such as health aides) rather than practitioners (like dentists and surgeons). In STEM fields, the <a href="" target="_hplink">majority were employed in service jobs (like telecommunications line installers and repairers)</a> rather than professional occupations (such as engineering managers).