The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the nation’s leading Hispanic leadership development and educational services organization, held its bi-annual Strategic Planning Weekend in San Diego. “CHCI is extremely proud to be in such a great city to host our Strategic Planning Weekend,” said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO. “I want to thank Exxon Mobil, Southwest Airlines, Hewlett Packard, and all of CHCI’s partners for their investment in Latino leaders and helping to make this weekend possible. I also want to recognize Lidia Martinez of Southwest Airlines for her efforts to make the weekend such a huge success.”

CHCI, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, was founded in 1978 by a small group of Hispanic Members of Congress with the vision of bringing the promise of the American Dream to the next generation of Latinos. Thirty-five years later their dream remains embedded in CHCI’s award-winning leadership development programs, which serve nearly 1,700 young Latinos annually.

Developing the Next Generation of Latino Leaders

CHCI’s unique model of educational services and leadership development – promoting college readiness, supporting college attainment and providing direct access to the most powerful network of Latino leadership – helps ensure career success and has put thousands of young people on a pathway to achieving the American Dream. It is the only national Latino organization that offers a wide range of programs and activities to support Hispanic youth from high school through graduate school and into their chosen careers.

Each year, CHCI runs three Congressional internship sessions that offer Latino college students unmatched job opportunities in congressional offices on Capitol Hill, as well as an opportunity to participate in CHCI’s nationally renowned leadership and professional training program.

CHCI provides Latinos who have completed undergraduate or graduate studies with unique fellowship opportunities – nine months in Washington, D.C., where they work in congressional offices and federal agencies, focusing on public policy in areas critical to the U.S.’ competitive position. Fellowships include weekly education sessions and interaction with national government and private-sector leaders.

CHCI has awarded more than $4.1 million in scholarships to needy Latino college students since 2001 and also conducts vital programs that every year give nearly 1,400 high school students access to tools and resources, role models and motivation they need to go on to college.

With all of its recent success, the need for CHCI’s programs continues to grow exponentially. This year alone the number of students interested in participating in CHCI programs surpassed 24,000. CHCI’s Strategic Planning Weekend allows its leadership to address how the organization will allocate its resources in light of the rapid population growth and to set its own goals to meet this significant challenge.

“As the dramatic population growth of the Latino community continues, education and training for Hispanic youth is a national imperative to ensure the future economic success of the country,” said Aguilera. “From leading non-profits and foundations to the federal government, to think tanks and school boards, to teachers and parents, to employers large and small in all sectors – everyone must be invested and not only grasp the urgency of this issue, but take bold actions today to stall if not avert the future collapse of the U.S. workforce and our global competitiveness.”

CHCI Hallmark Events

2012 marks the 35th anniversary of CHCI’s Annual Awards Gala—the signature event of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) and CHCI’s most important source of program funding. It is the largest and most prestigious gathering in the Latino community, bringing more than 2,500 Latinos from across the country together including members of Congress, celebrities, corporate executives, and non-profit leaders.

CHCI’s HHM events include its Public Policy Conference that has served as a vital forum for Hispanic American leaders from across the United States to address critical issues facing the Latino community and the nation since 1980, and its annual Reyes of Comedy show.

“We look forward to working with the San Diego community moving forward to engage local leaders on the important work we are doing that can benefit the Latino community here and across the nation,” said Aguilera.

For more information on CHCI and its programs and events, visit