At Southwest Airlines, we believe in developing leaders. A focus on leadership has been an important part of our Culture for more than 42 years. We recognize that having strong leaders throughout our Company and in all of our communities, secures a strong future for our country. That is why we are proud to partner with organizations like the United States Hispanic leadership Institute (USHLI) that work hard to promote education and leadership throughout the United States.

As the Official Airline of USHLI, Southwest Airlines is proud to support its Student Leadership Series. This program not only encourages students to stay in school, it also introduces them to motivational speakers who share their personal stories and struggles. These individuals talk about the value of education and the many doors a great education can open. By teaching these young leaders important values, USHLI is giving them the tools to build a stronger future for their community, and create a virtuous cycle of education and prosperity for the generations that follow.

We welcome USHLI to California, and we thank Dr. Andrade for seeing the value in launching the Student Leadership Series in San Diego. The local organizing committee, comprised of Carmen Spurling, Bill Virchis, Dr. Ted Martinez, Jr., and Anna Allee, worked very hard and successfully set a new standard for excellence. Their model is now being used across the country.

Congratulations to all and let’s continue to support this important organization!


The United States Hispanic leadership Institute (USHLI)

The United States Hispanic leadership Institute (USHLI) is a Chicago-based national organization established in 1982. The USHLI mission is to promote education, leadership development, research and non-partisan civic participation.

USHLI is one of very few national non-profit organizations that do not rely on government funding to support its work, relying instead on partnerships with local schools and community based organizations, universities, corporate alliances, contributions and modest labor support. For example, Southwest Airlines has served as USHLI’s Official Airline for nearly 10 years, which has enabled USHLI to deliver on its mission from San Diego to Providence (RI), from Portland to Ft. Lauderdale, from Chicago to San Antonio, from Washington, DC to Los Angeles, and to every major city in between.

To date USHLI has trained over 350,000 present and future leaders, registered more than 2.2 million new voters, and published 425 studies and reports on Latino demographics. In addition, since 1983, USHLI has sponsored the largest Latino leadership conference in the nation.

USHLI sponsors a variety of community-based programs that serve to empower the community and cultivate the next generation of Latino leaders. The programs include: Grassroots Leadership Development, a bi-lateral training program through which elected and appointed officials help educate Latino leaders on how local governments (city, county and school) work and local leaders educate public officials on how to better serve the Latino community, and their Collegiate Leadership Development, a bi-lateral training program in which university faculty, staff and administrators educate students on how to formulate, implement and influence public policy and students educate university officials on the needs of Latino students.

USHLI also offers Project SED (Students for an Education Democracy), a civic education virtual classroom through which students 17 years of age and under can learn about the electoral process. The curriculum is changed to reflect the focus of each election cycle, e.g., mayoral, gubernatorial or presidential. For persons 18 years of age and older USHLI offers Project CED (Citizens for an Educated Democracy), a civic education virtual classroom through which persons of voting age can learn about gubernatorial and presidential elections.

The USHLI national conference is held exclusively in the city of Chicago. Attended by over 6,000 present and future leaders representing hundreds of organizations in 40 states, this is the largest gathering of Latino leaders in the nation. The conference promotes education, leadership development and Latino unity. The 32nd national conference will be held February 13-16, 2014.

USHLI’s flagship education program is the Student Leadership Series (SLS), currently expected to operate in 32 states and serve over 100,000 students in grades 6-12, parents and educators. The SLS is the cornerstone of their campaign to create a Culture of Education in which education will become a priority in every Latino household and every family member – parents, grandparents, and students will participate. It is their fundamental belief that it takes a family to educate a child. The SLS recently launched at Southwest Middle School and Southwest High School in San Diego and is now preparing to expand throughout southern and northern California and the Southwest region of the United States.

The goal of our SLS is to ensure that every child has an opportunity to obtain the level of education that is consistent with his or her maximum potential and the opportunity to be successful in life and career. The objectives are to motivate students to stay in school, improve their academic performance, graduate, and pursue some level of post-secondary education or training and complete their education. The SLS will also include a Professional Development component for educators and Parent Leadership Training in selected cities/communities.

The USHLI 2013 Student Leadership Series will consist of Stay-in-School Rallies for middle school and junior high students, Career & Post-secondary Recruitment Fairs for high school students, and Regional Leadership Conferences for college students.

Strategic partnerships with major corporations like Southwest Airlines are responsible in part for USHLI being recognized as the National Organization of the Year in 2012 by Univision Communications. USHLI is also only the 3rd national organization whose leader has been decorated by the governments of the United States and Mexico. (The other two leaders and their respective organizations were Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union, honored by former President Bill Clinton, and Dr. Hector Garcia and the American G.I. Forum, honored by former President Ronald Reagan.) The USHLI and Southwest Airlines partnership is a prime example of how communities can benefit through shared values and commitments.